ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell last week said Canberra is a step closer to meeting its 90 per cent renewable energy target, with the official opening of Fotowatio Renewable Ventures' (FRV) 20 megawatt solar farm near Royalla, approximately 23 kilometres south of Canberra's CBD.
The photovoltaic (PV) solar farm, which will generate enough electricity to supply around 4,500 homes, was successful in the 'fast-track stream' of the ACT Government's Solar Auction process in 2012 and construction commenced last year.
"At 20MW the Royalla solar farm has twice the capacity of the Greenough River project in Western Australia and is the largest PV farm operating in the Australia. It is also the first large-scale solar facility connected to the national electricity market," Mr Corbell said.
"It is expected to generate an average 37,000 MWh of renewable energy each year for the next 20 years and will meet the needs of 4,500 Canberra households."
Mr Corbell said the 83,000 panels that make up the Royalla solar farm are a tangible example of the government's strategy to meet its 90 per cent renewable energy target by 2020 and commitment to the overwhelming majority of Canberrans who support renewable energy technology.
"This target will do the heavy lifting in achieving the emission cuts needed to reach the territory's legislated greenhouse gas reduction targets that require a 40 per cent cut on 1990 level emissions by 2020," the Minister said.
"The strong interest nationally and internationally in the ACT Government's renewable energy policies is growing Canberra's reputation as a centre for renewable energy innovation and investment. Already we have a number of international businesses looking to relocate jobs to Canberra and they are also partnering on research and development with local research institutions."
The cost to Canberrans of achieving the 90 per cent renewable energy is expected to peak at about $4 per household per week in 2020 before declining. According to the government, this will be offset by savings of about $4 per household per week from energy efficiency programs.
Next year, a 102 megawatt solar PV power plant in Nyngan in central New South Wales is scheduled to open. The solar plant, which is being delivered by AGL and due to be completed by the end of June 2015, will be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.