Finley solar farm is a 175MW photovoltaic (PV) solar farm under construction approximately 6km of Finley in the Berrigan Shire Council, New South Wales (NSW), Australia.
The project was initially undertaken by Australian solar developer ESCO Pacific. John Laing, a UK-based international infrastructure investor, acquired the project from ESCO Pacific in November 2018 and achieved financial closure for it in the same month.
ESCO Pacific will provide asset management services during the construction and operation of the solar farm.
The Finley solar project received development consent from the Australian Government in February 2018. Construction on the $170m solar power project was started in November 2018, while commissioning is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
The solar farm is expected to generate enough clean energy to power approximately 60,000 Australian homes, while offsetting 300,000 tonnes (t) of greenhouse gas emissions a year.
The project will also contribute to Australia’s policy goal of generating 50% of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
Finley solar farm site details
The Finley solar farm is being built on a 385ha-site, which was earlier being used for agriculture and cattle grazing.
The site was selected because of its high solar irradiance and easy accessibility to the Riverina Highway and the TransGrid Network.
Finley solar farm make-up
The Finley solar farm will comprise approximately 500,000 KuMax CS3U-P poly-crystalline solar panels supplied by Canadian Solar.
Weighing 22.5kg each, the 1,500V high-efficiency solar panel to be used at Finley will measure 2m-long, 992mm-wide, and 35mm-thick.
The solar panels will be mounted on single-axis tracking systems to track the movement of the sun. The nominal power capacity of each panel will be up to 360W.
The direct current (DC) electricity generated from each panel will be converted into alternating current (AC) by on-site inverters.
Electricity from the inverters will then be centrally collected via 33kV underground cables before being transmitted to TransGrid’s Finley 132kV substation.
Power purchase agreement
Australian steel giant BlueScope signed a seven-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with ESCO Pacific to off-take 66% of the electricity output from the Finley solar farm, in July 2018.
It is the biggest ever corporate PPA signed for an Australian solar farm till date.
Finley solar project financing
Financial closure for the $170m solar project was announced in November 2018.
In addition to equity funding from John Laing, the project secured debt financing from the Westpac Banking Corporation (Westpac) and the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ).
Herbert Smith Freehills acted as the advisor to both the banks for financing the project.
A joint venture (JV) of Signal Energy and Canadian Solar is responsible for the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of the Finley solar farm.
Signal Energy is responsible for the construction of the project and will also provide operations and maintenance services for a period of two years.
Canadian Solar will supply the solar panels for the Finley solar farm, under a contract awarded in January 2019.