Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) has started constructing the 70MW Moree Solar Farm in regional New South Wales.

ARENA CEO, Ivor Frischknecht, joined Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton; State MLA for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall; NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy, Leslie Williams MLA; and Moree Plains Shire Council, Mayor Katrina Humphries; to break ground on the project.

Mr Frischknecht said the occasion marked the fruition of many years of dedication and hard work.

“This project is a great example of what can be achieved when a local community, industry and all levels of government work together,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“It stands to advance solar technology and contribute to the energy mix of tomorrow.”

“ARENA is very pleased to have been part of this collaborative journey with FRV, the Moree community, and the various other stakeholders.

“As with all ARENA-supported projects, we will work with FRV to share the knowledge and expertise gained in delivering this project with the rest of the industry.”

Once completed, the plant will be one of the largest solar farms in Australia and generate enough energy to supply 15,000 average NSW homes. It will also deliver an estimated 130 local jobs during the construction phase over 2014–2016.

In a first for large scale solar in Australia, the plant uses a single-axis horizontal tracking system, where panels follow the sun across the sky to maximise power output.

ARENA is helping to overcome the challenges currently facing large scale solar by funding projects like the Moree Solar Farm and the AGL solar project.

“The knowledge gained through the construction and operation of these power stations will help overcome first-mover disadvantage and allow large scale solar play a greater role in Australia’s electricity markets,” Mr Frischknecht said.

FRV is receiving $101 million support from ARENA for the $164 million project.

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