Sunraysia solar farm is a 255MW photovoltaic (PV) solar project set for construction near Balranald in southern New South Wales, Australia.
The project is being developed by Australian-Chinese renewable energy developer, Maoneng Group. Sunraysia is Maoneng’s second solar power project in Australia, after the 13MW Mugga Lane solar park in Tuggeranong, in the Australian Capital Territory.
Maoneng reached financial closure for the Sunraysia solar project in October 2018 and plans to commence construction by the end of 2018.
Scheduled for commissioning by the end of 2019, the Sunraysia solar farm will be one of the biggest utility-scale PV solar farms in Australia.
With an expected operational life of 30 years, the 255MW solar project will help the state of New South Wales (NSW) meet its renewable energy target of 40% by 2025 and create 100 direct jobs.
Sunraysia solar farm location
The Sunraysia project site occupies 1,000ha of cleared agricultural land in the Balranald Shire Council Local Government Area, approximately 17km south of Balranald town center and roughly 140km south-east of Mildura.
The project site represents one of the sunniest parts of NSW.
Sunraysia solar project development details
The Sunraysia solar project was proposed in June 2016. The environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project was submitted in February 2017. The solar farm was approved for construction in July 2017.
Maoneng secured two major power purchase agreements (PPA) for the solar project in December 2017.
The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the PV solar farm was awarded in October 2018.
Sunraysia solar farm make-up
The Sunraysia solar firm will be equipped with JinkoSolar’s HC Cheetah series solar modules to be mounted on horizontal single-axis trackers.
The onsite substation of the solar farm will be connected to the existing TransGrid Balranald substation located approximately 2km north to the project site, through a 220kV overhead transmission line.
The solar farm site will have perimeter security fencing, and house an energy storage unit and a site maintenance and office building.
Power purchase agreements
Maoneng entered into two long-term power purchase agreements (PPA) with University of New South Wales (UNSW) and AGL Energy, in December 2017.
UNSW agreed to purchase 124,000 MWh of renewable energy a year for a period of 15 years, whereas AGL Energy agreed to off-take up to 800,000MWh of clean electricity a year for 15 years.
The PPA will help AGL Energy to replace its aging Liddell coal-fired power station with clean energy.
Project financing and partnership
Maoneng Group signed a long-term equity partnership with John Laing Group, which agreed to invest A$108.6m to own a 90.1% equity stake in the project, in October 2018.
Debt financing for the project is being provided by a group of banks including Nord L/B, ING, Bank of China, Mizuho, and National Australia Bank.
Maoneng Group will act as the construction manager of the project and as an asset manager of the project during its operations.
Contractors involved with the Sunraysia solar project
Decmil was awarded the $277m engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract for the Sunraysia solar project in October 2018.
Jinko Solar, a solar panel manufacturer based in China, was awarded the contract to supply the PV modules for the Sunraysia solar farm in October 2018.
Rothschild provided financial advisory services to Maoneng for the Sunraysia solar project.