Construction has begun on the 121MW Yarranlea solar farm west of Toowoomba, in Queensland, two months after the project was bought by the Australian arm of China-based renewables company, Risen Energy.
As we reported here, Risen bought the project – which had been under development by a company of the same name, Yarranlea Solar – in February, announcing plans to go ahead with the build without a power purchase agreement.
Risen have been boosting their presence in Australia since mid-2016, when the company announced its plans to co-invest in capital projects, provide access to its EPC division, and offer a diversified range of products suited to large scale solar PV installations.
On Yarranlea – which was approved for development in 2016, but has since encountered a number of technical and regulatory hurdles – Risen said they would take the solar farm from engineering design to construction and commissioning, and then own and operate the project.
John Zhong, Risen’s director of project development and investment said the company could do all this on a merchant basis, and without a PPA, thanks to the competitive nature of Australia’s energy prices.
“Due to wholesale electricity markets, Risen Energy will fund 100 per cent of the Yarranlea Solar Farm project without finance,” Zhong said in comments on Wednesday.
“No PPA is attached to the Yarranlea Solar Farm project so we decided to go ahead with merchant to capture the NEM spot price.”
Risen says it expects to have finished construction of Yarranlea sometime near the end of 2018. Once completed, the solar farm is expected to generate roughly 264GWh a year, which it will export to the NEM via an existing nearby substation.