The Australian Renewable Agency has published a list of the final 20 applications received under its $100 million utility-scale program as published in PV Magazine. The falling cost of solar has resulted in a cut in the grant sums requested by the applicants, likely meaning more projects will go ahead.
20 of the 22 projects that were shortlisted by ARENA have submitted final applications, and with the price of project grant funding requested per watt-peak falling sharply, the $100 million ARENA has designated for the program can stretch across more projects.
The 20 projects that have submitted final applications are worth 757 megawatts of capacity. Together the project developers have applied for $211 in grant funding. Original estimates put the ARENA program’s likely MW output at around 250 megawatts, but with fall in grant request per watt-peak, it will now appear that around 350 megawatts of projects will be successful.
ARENA figures show that in the initial phase of the utility-scale program (opened in 2014), applicants were requested an average subsidy of $1.60/Wp, which went down to $0.43/Wp in 2014 when expressions-of-interest were sought. This decreased further to $0.28/Wp when applications closed last month.
Origin Energy has submitted an application for the largest project under the ARENA program with their 106.8 megawatt Darling Downs Solar Farm, located in Queensland. 5 other projects of around 50 megawatts have submitted their final applications in Queensland. Victoria applied for 7 renewable parks between 25 megawatts and 50 megawatts in capacity. The remaining 7 applications are for PV power plants ranging from 12.2 megawatts to 22.4 megawatts.
Neoen has submitted the largest number of final applications with 3 parks that are worth 94.8 megawatts in total. Neoen is followed by Infigen Energy, with 2 projects worth 81.9 megawatts combined and the Canadian company Canadian Solar with 2 solar parks that will total to 40 megawatts in capacity.
ARENA is presently evaluating the applications, with successful projects to be announced in September. ARENA stated that the goal of the program is to reduce the soft cost of installing utility scale PV in Australia.