Shortlisted round 2 applicants have the opportunity to resubmit an application.
The Moree Solar Farm has not met its obligations under its funding agreement and, consequently, the Government now has an opportunity to take another look at the Moree project against its competitors to ensure the Government continues to back the best PV project available at this time
About the program
The Solar Flagships Program supports the construction and demonstration of large-scale, grid connected solar power stations in Australia. The program supports solar power playing a significant role in Australia’s electricity supply and operating within a competitive electricity market.
The Government has also established the Australian Solar Institute (ASI), which aims to increase the cost-effectiveness of solar technologies and accelerate the capacity of solar industries in Australia.
In December 2009 the Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism the Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP launched the Solar Flagships program, and opened the program for proposals. Following the application process, in June 2011 the Prime Minister and the Minister for Resources and Energy announced that the Moree Solar Farm and Solar Dawn projects were selected for an offer of funding in Round 1.
The projects were given until 15 December to meet financial close but were unable to meet this milestone.
As such on 7 February 2012, the Minister for Resources and Energy announced the Australian Government will seek updated applications from the four shortlisted Round 1 Solar Flagship photovoltaic (PV) applicants, including from Moree Solar Farm to be reassessed by the independent Solar Flagships Council.
With respect to the Round 1 solar thermal applicants, Solar Dawn was the only short-listed solar thermal project recommended by the Solar Flagships Council as suitable for funding. Solar Dawn has been offered an extension to its financial close deadline until 30 June 2012.
About the process
In the initial stage of the process applicants submitted proposals to be selected for funding as part of Round 1 of the Solar Flagships program. Of the 52 proposals received, eight were shortlisted. These applicants were invited to submit full applications for a second stage of assessment. The Government announced the eight applicants in May 2011 following the recommendations by the Solar Flagships Council.
Seven of the shortlisted applicants submitted full applications for assessment by the Solar Flagships Council by the closing date.
The government accepted the recommendations of the Solar Flagships Council, and in June 2011 the projects selected for funding in Round 1 were announced.
The Projects selected were:
- the 150 megawatt Moree Solar Farm photovoltaic project
- the 250 megawatt Solar Dawn solar thermal project.
The Moree Solar Farm consortium was given until 15 December 2011 to meet financial close as a condition of the $306.5 million grant offer from the Australian Government as part of the Solar Flagships Program. The consortium has provided information to the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism indicating they have been unable to meet all of their funding conditions and has proposed substantial changes to the project that was originally selected.
As a consequence short-listed PV applicants have now been invited to update their applications for re-assessment by the independent Solar Flagships Council. These applicants are the Moree Solar Farm and projects from AGL; Infigen-Suntech and TRUenergy.
Separately, the Government has also extended the time for Solar Dawn to reach financial close until 30 June 2012. Solar Dawn was the only solar thermal project to be assessed viable by the Solar Flagships Council.
The Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism continues to provide ARENA with advice for funding consideration throughout the remaining review process of Round 1.