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Fotowatio Renewable Ventures Australia, a leading developer of sustainable energy solutions, co-owned by Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and Canadian pension fund and infrastructure investor OMERS, has completed the financial close of the Walla Walla solar farm in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.
Located 4 km Northeast of Walla Walla and approximately 40 km north of Albury in New South Wales, the solar farm will have a peak power capacity of approximately 300MWac.
The project will also contribute to the economic development of the local area with FRV Australia anticipating the creation of up to 250 jobs during the construction phase. The company will also award site maintenance contracts to local businesses.
Fady Jameel, Deputy President, and Vice Chairman, Abdul Latif Jameel said, “FRV has made impressive progress in expanding its portfolio of renewable energy projects globally, and particularly in Australia, with the Walla Walla solar farm marking our 10th project in the country since beginning operations here in 2013. With this solar farm, we are now supplying a total of over 400,000 Australian homes with clean energy, a clear testament to our commitment to delivering sustainable energy solutions for all, while simultaneously championing local communities’ economic and green energy ambitions.”
FRV Australia CEO, Carlo Frigerio said, “We are delighted to announce that Walla Walla Solar Farm has reached this milestone. With the support of all parties involved, we were able to navigate the procurement challenges that affected our industry during the past year, and we are now ready to deliver another high-quality project that will be added to our portfolio, which now reaches 1GW in Australia.”
Commenting on the project, Australia’s Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said, “Renewables are the cheapest form of energy, and this project will put cleaner, cheaper, and more secure energy into the grid. Australia will need to install more than 60 million, five-hundred-watt solar panels by 2030 to achieve our emissions reduction targets. There are more than half a million panels in this project alone, and we have many more in our sights.”
Christopher Curtain, Senior Managing Director for the Asia Pacific at OMERS Infrastructure, commented, “Walla Walla Solar Project represents the first large-scale solar project to reach financial close under OMERS joint ownership of FRV Australia and demonstrates our strategic priority of investing in the transition of the Australian electricity market. We look forward to continuing to support FRV Australia as they roll out their pipeline of projects.”
Last year, FRV Australia signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Microsoft to provide renewable energy from Walla Walla Solar Farm to its data centres in Australia, once the farm came online. The PPA was instrumental in helping achieve financial close on the Walla Walla Solar Farm while supporting Microsoft’s goals of achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.
The funding is being provided by ING Bank, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and Export Development Canada in the form of a green loan, which is compliant with the Loan Market Association’s Green Loan Principles.
FRV Australia has selected Gransolar to carry out the construction of the project in a joint venture with CHINT Solar.
In November 2022, FRV Australia completed the refinancing of another project in NSW, the 56 MWac Moree Solar Farm; and in July, the company refinanced its 100 MWac Lilyvale Solar Farm in Queensland. Earlier this year it was also awarded funding from the Victorian Government to support the Victoria Terang 100 MW battery project and more recently conditional funding from ARENA to support Gnarwarre 250 MW project, also in Victoria.