Impact Investment Group (IIG) has committed $32 million to fund the installation of more than 50,000 solar panels at Victoria’s Swan Hill Solar Farm.

The project is expected to be one of the highest capacity solar farms in Victoria on completion, expected to produce 37,700 MWh in its first year of operation, enough to power the equivalent of approximately 6,300 Australian homes.

Over its 25-year expected lifetime, the solar farm will avoid approximately one million tonnes of carbon emissions and save approximately 14,300 Australians from pollution related diseases, according to modelling by IIG. It will have more than 50,000 solar panels operating on a single axis tracking system.

Regional Victoria is set to experience a boom in the development of renewable energy generation, with more than eleven large-scale solar farms currently committed or proposed for the state.

“It is great to be a prominent part of this new wave of construction and investment in Victoria’s solar energy economy,” IIG CEO, Chris Lock, said.

“This project demonstrates that IIG can create investment opportunities in solar assets even during times of policy uncertainty for Australian energy markets. Many sophisticated investors recognise that the world is shifting to renewable power such as wind and solar.

“Investing in solar power stations can deliver investor returns, create jobs and provide cleaner, safer, healthier energy options.”

The Swan Hill Rural City Council has strongly encouraged the project through the early phases.

Mayor of Swan Hill Rural City Council, Les McPhee, said north west Victoria was primed to be a centre for clean energy generation.

“Investments like this one from the Impact Investment Group are game-changers for our move to a renewable energy economy, and Swan Hill is proud to have secured one of the first large-scale solar farms in Victoria.

“Council has been an early supporter of solar energy and has enjoyed a great relationship with the developers and investors of this solar farm at what is locally known as Blackwire Reserve,” Mr McPhee said.

The developer for the project is Australian Solar Group, with RCR Tomlinson awarded the engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance contract.

RCR’s scope of work includes engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning including associated substations and grid connection works. Once commissioned, RCR will undertake maintenance services for an initial period of two years.

Construction for this project is expected to commence in late August 2017.

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