The renewables developer behind one of Australia’s largest solar farms to date, the 255MW Sunraysia solar farm near Balranald in New South Wales, has unveiled plans to develop a project pipeline of at least 2GW by 2025.
Australian renewables developer Maoneng, which also owns and operates the 13MW Mugga Lane solar park in the ACT, said on Tuesday that it had joined forced with China-based outfit Chint New Energy – a solar panel manufacturer and EPC contractor – on the Australian portfolio.
The two companies said on Tuesday that as part of their joint bid to accelerate Australia’s transition to renewable energy, $200 million had been set aside for an initial project aimed at bringing more solar farms online.
This could involve buying up solar farms already completed, or at various stages in the development pipeline, or starting new projects from scratch, they said.
Maoneng will take a 40 per cent equity stake in the joint venture, while Chint New Energy will take a 60 per cent stake.
The joint venture comes at a difficult time for large-scale solar in Australia’s NEM states – where the companies aim to develop their projects – with grid congestion and outdated transmission infrastructure combining to cause major project delays and uncertainties.
Willing and reliable EPC contractors have also been hard to come by, since the demise last year of RCR Tomlinson and this years shock withdrawal from the market by major player Downer Group.
Maoneng and Chint say their partnership can overcome several of these issues, thanks to Maoneng’s experience in developing and operating large-scale solar farms and Chint’s track record of developing solar projects across the globe.
“By taking on fledgling large-scale solar projects and getting them across the line, we will be increasing our drive to make Australia 100 per cent renewable,” said Maoneng CEO and chair Morris Zhou.
“Working with Chint New Energy, we will achieve this by either bringing these projects to financial close, completing construction, operating them — or all three. Areas in which this joint venture has extensive experience,” Zhou said.
“Australia has the opportunity to be a solar energy giant and we’re proud to be working with Maoneng to help achieve this,” added Chint CEO Dr Lu Chuan.
“We see a great investment opportunity here and look forward to putting our clean energy experience to good use.”