APA Group has agreed to purchase the Darling Downs Solar Farm, with the acquisition and development project costing approximately $200 million.

The purchase of the farm comes with an option to acquire the nearby Beelbee Solar Farm Development site, which has the potential for an additional 150MW of solar energy generation.

APA will fund the acquisition and development costs for the Darling Downs Solar Farm project of approximately $200 million with currently available cash and operating cash flows, and a $20 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) Advancing Renewables Programme.

Construction is expected to be completed by late in 2018.

Under the agreement, APA has undertaken to execute at financial close, a long term offtake agreement with Origin Energy until December 2030, that will underpin the construction of the 110MW Darling Downs Solar Farm – one of Australia’s largest approved solar farms.

The agreement is for Origin Energy to purchase all of the energy and the Large-scale Renewable Generation Certifications (LGCs) generated by the solar farm. Financial close is expected to complete by end of business on Monday, 1 May 2017.

The Darling Downs Solar Farm site is located approximately 45km west of the town of Dalby in south-western Queensland and will utilise the existing Darling Downs Braemar substation which connects into the National Electricity Grid.

The Darling Downs Solar Farm is expected to generate enough electricity to power around 32,0001 homes.

APA Group Managing Director Mr Mick McCormack said, “I am always pleased to announce new growth projects. APA continues to grow its capabilities in owning and operating significant energy infrastructure as part of its growth strategy.

“This renewables project sits well with APA’s successful and sustainable investment criteria as, with all our investments, it is underwritten by a long term contract with one of our existing customers and meets our return criteria.

“This will be APA’s second solar project and like the Emu Downs Solar Farm in Western Australia that we recently announced, the Darling Downs Solar Farm will utilise ARENA funding.

“As Australia’s leading energy infrastructure business, we see investing in renewable energy as key to supporting Australia’s transition to a lower carbon economy.”

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