In January 2012, the ACT Government opened Australia’s first Solar Auction, issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) to support the delivery of up to 40 MW of large-scale solar generation capacity in the Territory. Three projects were awarded under the ‘fast-track’ and ‘regular’ stream of the Auction.
When completed, the three solar farms will supply around 10,000 Canberra houses, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1,400,000 tonnes over 20 years.
The RFP was issued for the competitive process (the Solar Auction) determined in the Electricity Feed-in (Large-scale Renewable Energy Generation) FiT Capacity Release Determination 2012 (No 1) under the Electricity Feed-in (Large-scale Renewable Energy Generation) Act 2011.
Solar Auction—fast-track stream
On 5 September 2012, the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development announced that FRV Royalla Solar Farm Pty Limited was successful in the ‘fast-track stream’ of the Solar Auction and would be awarded a grant of feed-in-tariff entitlement for its 20 MW proposal to be located at Royalla in the ACT (Media Release, 5 September 2012). The Royalla Solar Farm was commissioned in late August 2014 and officially opened by the Minister on 3 September 2014.
Solar Auction—Regular Stream
On 19 August 2013, the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development announced that Zhenfa Canberra Solar Farm One Pty Limited and OneSun Capital 10 MW Operating Pty Ltd was selected in the ‘regular stream’ of the Solar Auction and was awarded grants of feed-in tariff entitlement for their 13 MW and 7 MW proposals respectively (Media release, 19 August 2013). On 17 March 2016, the Minister for the Environment and Climate Change announced that construction would begin on the ACT’s second large-scale solar farm at the Mugga Lane Solar Park on the Monaro Hwy. The project is being developed by Maoneng Group (formally Zhenfa Australia). Construction is scheduled to be mostly finished by the end of 2016 (Media release, 17 March 2016).
The ACT’s solar auction has proved to be a simple and effective way of attracting large solar projects to the Territory. This initiative also underpins Canberra’s emergence as a renewable energy investment hub and supports the continuing growth of our clean technology industries.
In 2016, the ACT Government is running the Next Generation Renewables Auction that will drive further investment in up to 200 MW of new wind or solar generating capacity.
More information about how the ACT's renewable energy reverse auctions work.
More information: How Canberra is becoming the solar capital of Australia
Solar Auction review
Under section 22(1) the Electricity Feed-in (Large-scale Renewable Energy Generation) Act 2011, the Minister must review a feed-in tariff capacity release within six months after the last tariff entitlement under the release granted. An independent review has been completed by consultant Sinclair Knight Mertz. A summary of the review, including consultant recommendations, is available, as is the Government’s response: