May 6, 2020 / 3:51 AM / a month ago

French power producer Neoen to build Australia's biggest solar farm

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - French power producer Neoen SA (NEOEN.PA) said on Wednesday it will build Australia’s largest solar farm for A$570 million ($367 million), after lining up a contract to sell most of the power to a state-owned electricity company.

The state of Queensland’s CleanCo has agreed to buy 320 megawatts of capacity from the Western Downs solar farm in southeast Queensland, which will help the state make progress on its target of 50% renewable energy by 2030, the government said.

“As our economy emerges from the worst impact of COVID-19, we need projects ready to go that will create jobs and stimulate spending, especially in regional Queensland,” the state’s treasurer, Jacki Trad, said in a statement.

Neoen, which sees Australia as one of its key growth markets, said it expects to begin construction on the Western Downs solar farm in July, with generation from the project due to start in the first quarter of 2022.

The independent power producer rated the solar farm at 460 to 480 megawatts photovoltaic (MWp) capacity, which would be the largest in Australia, and said CleanCo agreed to buy 352 MWp.

Neoen already has six solar farms, three wind farms and the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery in Australia.

Reporting by Sonali Paul, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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