The Collinsville Solar Farm remains a top priority for developer Ratch Australia Corporation after the company confirmed today that it had submitted “a very strong case” to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) for funding.
Ratch’s proposed solar project in Collinsville was one of 22 “high merit” projects invited by ARENA in January to apply for $100 million in financial support as part of the Agency’s large-scale solar photovoltaic competitive funding round which closed on June 15. ARENA invests in projects that hasten the commercialisation of renewable energy solutions and diversify Australia’s energy mix.
ARENA is expected to announce the successful projects in September this year but Ratch Business Development Manager, Anthony Yeates, believed that the advanced development status and favourable location of its proposed solar farm near Collinsville significantly strengthened its bid.
“As part of its assessment criteria, ARENA has made it clear that it will favour projects than can be completed by the end of January 2018. Ratch has the people, approvals, resources and plans in place to deliver the Collinsville Solar project within this timeframe,” Mr Yeates said.
“In addition, the project is also well positioned. It is in close proximity to Ratch’s retired Collinsville coal-fired power station. This enables it to take advantage of existing electrical infrastructure including substations and Ergon’s distribution network.
“The proposed site is also easily accessible by the Whitsunday region’s experienced engineering and construction workforce,” he said.
Mr Yeates said significant effort and time has gone into preparing the ARENA submission and receiving the ARENA funding would considerably enhance the project’s commercial metrics and promote its value to prospective electricity off-takers.” he said.
“Our commitment to this project remains as strong as ever and we continue to invest significant efforts internally and externally to progress this project to construction stage.
“We’re eager to get started on construction work. Our capital investment of around $100 million will have major economic significance to the Whitsundays region,” he said.
The 42 MW Collinsville solar farm would feature around 180,000 solar photovoltaic panels and supply power equivalent to the annual needs of 15,000 homes.
Ratch owns and operates three wind farms in Australia and has an interest in a number of renewable energy development opportunities.