The large-scale solar projects awarded funding by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) show the remarkable success of the agency and the value of investing in innovation, the Clean Energy Council said at the launch event today.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the dozen successful solar projects in the funding round would leverage 10 times the money allocated by the agency from private investors.

“Large-scale solar is coming down rapidly in cost, and much of the success of this exciting technology is due to the grant funding provided by ARENA,” Mr Thornton said.

“The genuinely ground-breaking projects in New South Wales developed by AGL and First Solar at Nyngan and Broken Hill have helped bring the cost down for all those that follow.

“To reduce the local costs of new technology such as large-scale solar you need to build a pipeline of projects in Australia. Thanks to the funding from ARENA the industry has reduced local costs and built Australian capability, and this will provide the foundations for Australia’s future success.

“We have some of the best sunshine in the world here, and the investment by ARENA is fantastic value for money as we transform our energy system to one that is cleaner, smarter and more innovative.

“I would like to congratulate the successful companies, many of which are members of the Clean Energy Council,” he said.  

A dozen projects received a total of $92 million in funding from ARENA in the large-scale solar funding round, with the bulk of it going to projects in Queensland and New South Wales.

Mr Thornton said the large-scale solar funding announced today could conceivably be the last grants ever given by ARENA if the Federal Government’s omnibus budget savings bill is passed by the Australian Parliament.

Earlier today the Clean Energy Council released an open letter signed by some of Australia’s innovation leaders, calling on politicians to protect ARENA’s funding.

Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.