Australian solar farm starts full-scale commercial production

Key Points
  • Coleambally Solar Farm has 567,800 solar photovoltaic panels.
  • It will generate more than  390,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy per year.
  • The development is spread across 550-hectares of land.
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Australia's "largest fully-operational photovoltaic facility" has commenced full-scale commercial operation, it was announced Thursday.

French firm Neoen said in a statement that its Coleambally Solar Farm in New South Wales has 567,800 solar photovoltaic panels and would generate more than 390,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy per year.

This, Neoen said, is enough to power over 65,000 homes in New South Wales. Photovoltaic refers to a way of directly converting light from the sun into electricity.

The Coleambally development is situated in the state's Riverina region and is spread across 550-hectares of land.

It is backed by a 12-year power purchase agreement with EnergyAustralia, an energy retailer. Under the terms of the deal, EnergyAustralia will use 70 percent of the facility's output, with the rest sold directly to market.

"Coleambally Solar Farm is an example of the projects that will underpin a modern energy system in Australia," Franck Woitiez, Neoen Australia's managing director, said in a statement.

Blessed with an abundance of sunshine, large-scale solar electricity is "rapidly expanding" in Australia, according to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). Over 2 million Australian homes have a solar system installed on their rooftop, ARENA adds.