Photon, Canadian get green light for 170MW Suntop Solar Farm in NSW

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Progress on joint plans of Photon Energy and Canadian Solar to develop 1.4GW of large-scale PV in NSW, as 170MW Suntop Solar Farm approved for state’s central west.

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New South Wales has waved through another large-scale solar development, this time a proposal from Photon Energy to build a 170MW PV farm in the state’s central west.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment said on Wednesday that it had approved the $262 million, Suntop Solar Farm for construction 10km west of Wellington.

The project caps off a bumper year for big solar development in the state, and is the second major PV project to be approved this week alone, alongside Edify Energy’s plans for a 275MW solar farm and 100MWh big battery near Griffith in the Riverina district.

For Photon, the solar farm forms part of an agreement with Canadian Solar, sealed at the beginning of the year, to co-develop five major PV projects in NSW totalling 1.14GW.

As well as Suntop, the projects include a 316MW facility proposed for near the town of Gunning, and three other projects at Gunnedah (165MW) and Maryvale (196MW), both near Wellington; and Mumbil, near Dubbo (178MW).

The deal will see Photon effectively sell half of its interest in each project to Canadian Soar, which will hold 51 per cent in all projects, with Photon holding the balance of the equity in the Gunning project and sharing the balance of equity with Polpo Investments in the other four projects.

In the case of Suntop, Photon will retain approximately 25 per cent of the solar farm and Polpo will hold the balance of the shares.

An Environmental Impact Statement for the Suntop project, prepared by Pitt & Sherry, notes that the Wellington and Dubbo area in NSW is becoming “a sought-after area” for renewable energy developments.

The Suntop Solar Farm solar will cover an area of 472 hectares and include up to 550,000 PV panels installed on a single axis tracking system. As part of the development, a 132kV on-site substation would also be built.

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