A 29.9MW solar farm planned for development in Wangaratta in Victoria’s north east has been snapped up by Australian commercial solar outfit CleanPeak Energy.
The original developers of the solar farm, Wangaratta Solar Farm (formerly Countrywide Energy), kicked off a quest for investors in the $45 million “shovel-ready” project in April of this year, appointing Energy Estate as advisors on the process.
At the time, Energy Estate principal Simon Currie said he felt confident about finding investors for the smaller-scale Victorian project, despite the market challenges being presented by the spread of Covid-19 in that state at the time.
“Due to the shovel-ready status of the grid, Wangaratta Solar Farm is de-risked and perfectly placed for a range of investors to acquire and deploy capital in 2020,” Currie had said.
Sun Farms Australia director Ben Barnett, who advised on the transaction, was similarly confident that the solar farm would find backers, due to its smaller size, “strong fundamentals,” and location on the grid.
“The project is strategically very well located … and is far removed from the curtailment and queuing issues currently being experienced on the West Murray region of the grid in Victoria,” Barnett said.
“The (Marginal Loss Factor)… is high and stable due to its proximity to the load centre of Wangaratta.”
For CleanPeak Energy, the nearly 30MW project is a first foray into the utility-scale solar market for a company that has cut its teeth on major commercial projects like 9MW solar and 12MWh battery storage rollout by Charter Hall across 15 of its major shopping centres – as One Step Off The Grid reported here.
CleanPeak also worked with Todae Solar on the installation of a 1MW PV system on the roof of Melbourne company Tibaldi Smallgoods back in 2018.
CleanPeak says its plan is to combine the Wangaratta solar farm with its portfolio of more than 80 megawatt-hours of battery assets in development to supply frequency control and grid stability services to the National Electricity Market, according to comments to the Australian Financial Review.
“Over time we are focused on integrating our solar and battery assets behind the meter to ensure our portfolio delivers a reliable supply of renewable energy,” said CleanPeak COO and co-founder Jon Hare.
Construction of the solar farm is expected to begin in early 2021, CleanPeak CEO Philip Graham told the AFR, and will be connected to AusNet Services’ 66kV network in northern Victoria, where it is expected to avoid the congestion problems that have hindered other Victorian projects.