Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has selected Genex Power as the recipient of up to $8.85 million in funding to be used for the construction of its 50MW Kidston Solar Project in North Queensland.

The funding is part of ARENA’s Large-Scale Solar Funding Award Program, which aims to accelerate Australia’s move to sustainable energy.

The Kidston Solar Project will be co-located with Genex’s Pumped Storage Hydro Project which was designed to support between 1,500MWh to 2,250MWh of continuous power generation in a single generation cycle. Together the projects will make up the Kidston Energy Hub.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said Australia’s big solar industry is coming of age thanks to ARENA support, ensuring large-scale solar was a competitive, sustainable energy option.

“ARENA had been a driving force in bringing down costs and accelerating the commerciality of large-scale solar in Australia and has carried out a multiyear plan to build capacity in Australian supply chains and expertise over successive projects,” Mr Frischknecht said.

The ARENA grant is the culmination of a thorough and lengthy process which commenced in late 2015.

The first round of the funding program, which included Genex’s proposal, attracted a total of 77 expressions of interest for approximately $1.1 billion in funding, for projects across Australia worth more than $5.5 billion.

From this first round, Genex was selected along with 21 other applicants, to submit a full application in mid June 2016, with Genex being advised of its successful application.

The offer from ARENA comprises $8.85 million in grant funding, subject to completion of standard form documentation which is expected to be concluded in coming weeks.

Genex’s Managing Director Michael Addison said the company is pleased to partner with ARENA to advance the construction of the Kidston Solar project.

“ARENA has played a vital role in the development of large-scale solar photovoltaics (PV), injecting confidence into the solar industry and helping to build competitive supply chains,” Mr Addison said.

“The estimated construction costs for the Company’s Solar Project will benefit significantly from this competitive environment.

“Additionally, the significant natural advantages of the site such as the high solar yield prevalent in this part of North Queensland, favourable ground conditions and existing infrastructure provide a compelling investment case.

“The Board and management are working diligently towards achieving Financial Close for the Solar Project, which remains on track for Q4 2016 with construction to commence Q1 2017.”

Genex also announced that it has received Queensland Government financial support for 100 per cent of the energy that the solar project will produce via a long-term price agreement.

Pursuant to the terms of the Solar 150 Financial Support Deed, large scale generation certificates (LGC’s) will be surrendered to the state. The term of the support deed is 20 years from first revenue.

The contractual arrangements, to be finalised and subject to standard form documentation, will be structured as a financial support deed or “contract for difference”.

“The Queensland Government is leading the way for a renewable energy future by providing long term cash flow certainty to underpin the financing of projects,” Mr Addison said.

“Genex acknowledges the continued support of the Queensland Government in the development of the Kidston Renewable Energy Hub.”

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