UK solar developer Island Green Power (IGP) has revealed it is to break ground on a trio of solar farms in Australia – some of the country’s largest – in the next quarter.
London-headquartered IGP, which in December 2015 revealed it was looking to export its development experience overseas, has partnered with Overland Sun Farming to develop three utility-scale solar farms in the state of Victoria.
Each solar farm is anticipated to be at least 100MW in size making them the largest in the state, with the combined capacity of all three set to reach 320MW.
Melbourne-based Overland is currently developing a portfolio of utility-scale projects across the eastern Australian states of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria and Brett Thomas, the firm’s managing director, said solar was the country’s “next great energy opportunity”.
“We could see that Victoria’s north west region was a fantastic opportunity for solar farming - it has the best solar radiation in the State and there is plenty of clear flat land. Now that these projects have completed the planning process and executed grid connection agreements, we can move from talking about solar projects in north west Victoria to building them,” he added.
Construction is slated to start in Q2 2017 and all three are expected to come on stream by 1 January 2018.
Ian Lawrie, managing director at IGP, lauded the combined teams’ experience in developing utility-scale solar projects.
“The local governments in Mildura and Swan Hill have been extremely supportive of these projects, which will represent a $500 million investment in the region, and generate more than 200 jobs during construction,” Lawrie added.
Both Overland and IGP also hinted that further announcements would be forthcoming later on in the year as the two look to ramp up construction of similar assets in other states.
Meanwhile prolific UK solar investor Foresight Group has made its maiden solar purchase in Australia, acquiring a 25MW solar farm in Queensland from an Australia-based subsidiary of Spanish developer Elecnor.
Foresight said it leveraged the “extensive solar experience” of the company’s London team in order to close the purchase and confirmed it intends to acquire further solar assets in the country in the future.
“Foresight will continue to work with developers and investors over the coming years to firmly establish itself as an astute energy infrastructure investment manager of solar, energy from waste and wind assets in Australia,” Gary Sofarelli, director at Foresight Group, said.