A word from the industry
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is helping the most promising renewable energy technologies advance more quickly to the commercial market.
By taking a strategic and commercial approach to selecting projects, ARENA supports organisations that identify and address barriers to energy system transformation, minimise investment risk and overcome the higher costs of doing business faced by early adopters.
Since it was established in 2012, ARENA has been a driving force in bringing down the cost and accelerating the commercial viability of large-scale solar in Australia. It has delivered a multi-year plan to build capacity in Australian supply chains and expertise over successive large-scale solar projects.
In 2016 ARENA held a $100 million competitive funding round to develop an additional 200 megawatts of large-scale solar capacity in Australia and achieve cost-parity between solar and wind energy projects by 2020.
The competitive round exceeded expectations, with the 12 selected projects slated to produce 480 megawatts of capacity once operational. The funding ask dropped from half of total project costs to just 10 per cent on average. With this support, the cost of large-scale solar is rapidly falling, which increases investor confidence, lowers finance costs and creates a more supportive market for power purchase agreements.
ARENA is also supporting a number of projects to co-locate large-scale solar installations with wind farms. An ARENA-supported study found an estimated 100 megawatts of potential opportunities to add solar alongside existing wind farms. Placing the two technologies together saves money on grid connection, approvals and site development, allowing solar plants to roll out more quickly and cheaply across the country.
The co-location of solar and wind also provides a pathway to continuous supply from renewables, with solar energy being generated during the day and wind energy generally at night.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency provided this content.
Photo: Supplied by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
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