France-based Akuo Energy will invest $12 million in the Jane Eliza Solar Farm, to be built in South Australia’s Renmark Paringa Council area.
Announced last week, Akuo Energy has signed a long-term lease with Council for the 10 hectares of land on which it will build the facility, featuring approximately 15,000 solar panels. The site within the Jane Eliza Estate is directly across the road from the Renmark SAPN substation and adjacent to two 11kva SAPN transmission lines.
If 4.98MW seems like a strange capacity figure, it’s this size as keeping a system below 5MW involves fewer regulatory issues and consequently becomes more cost-effective for smaller large-scale facilities.
This first Australian project from Akuo will be followed by others – the company plans to invest an additional $238 million in conventional and floating solar PV, wind and wood biomass energy projects. Among its floating solar projects elsewhere is a 17MW facility in Piolenc, southeastern France that features 46,000 Trina Solar panels.
Akuo has teamed up with local company Enerven for the Renmark venture.
“Just as we did in the United States, we wish to bring our affordable electricity prices using clean energy to many businesses in South Australia over the next few years,” said Akuo Energy Asia Pacific CEO Jean Ballandras.
Akuo Energy has raised €2.1 billion in project financing since it kicked off in 2007 and has 1,192 MW of projects in operation or under construction across the world. In terms of solar PV, the company states it has 239MW of solar power capacity in operation, under construction or with financing underway.
South Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, David Ridgway welcomed the signing of the lease agreement, saying it demonstrated significant international investor confidence in the state.
Renmark Council CEO Tony Siviour says construction of the facility is expected to start next year.
Renmark Region A Small-scale Solar Powerhouse
While Akuo Energy’s project will be the first large-scale solar farm for the Renmark area, residents and businesses have already been busy busting their electricity bills using solar power.
n the 5341 postcode area, 1,282 small-scale solar installations (<100kW) are in place[1 Clean Energy Regulator – data as at 30/11/2018], collectively representing around 7.4MW of capacity. With a population of approximately 7,665, that works out to just shy of a kilowatt of solar capacity per person. Renmark is punching well above its weight compared to the Australian per capita average of around 300 watts.