Williamsdale Solar Farm shows carbon-free economy is powering forward
The Impact Investment Group’s (IIG) Williamsdale Solar Farm officially opened on 5 October 2017 by ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury, MLA. It is located just inside the ACT border with New South Wales, approximately 20km south of Canberra.
The Williamsdale Solar Farm is expected to power the equivalent of approximately 3000 ACT homes. It will help the territory reach its target of sourcing 100 percent renewable electricity by 2020, and is a key asset in IIG’s Solar Income Fund. IIG’s Solar Income Fund aims to provide investors a target return forecast of 10 percent per annum.
Minister Rattenbury says, “The clean power generated by Williamsdale Solar Farm takes us another significant step towards achieving our target of 100 percent renewable electricity by 2020 in the ACT.
“Williamsdale Solar Farm is now the fourth large-scale solar farm built in the ACT. As with the other projects, the Williamsdale Solar Farm also brings many other economic and research benefits to the region. The solar farm’s developer, IIG, has offered student tours for a number of the ACT’s tertiary institutions, which will help to inspire the engineers and energy start-ups of tomorrow.”
IIG’s head of Renewable Energy Infrastructure, Lane Crockett, remarks, “The Williamsdale Solar Farm is a part of Australia’s transition to a clean energy economy. The smartest investors and developers in the country aren’t trying to eke another few years out of old unreliable, polluting coal-fired infrastructure. They are building the clean generators that will deliver reliable electricity, crucial environmental benefits, health benefits and attractive financial returns. Meanwhile, our investors have confidence knowing that the ACT government has committed to buying the farm’s electricity for 20 years.”
The Williamsdale Solar Farm has almost 36,000 photovoltaic panels mounted on a single-axis tracking system that keeps them facing the sun as it moves through the day. It improves panel efficiency by up to 30 percent. IIG has calculated that the Williamsdale Solar Farm should abate approximately 17,250 tonnes of CO2-e emissions annually.
IIG’s Solar Income Fund was launched in August 2016 with the capital raised in less than a week.
Future Super, Australia’s first 100 percent fossil fuel free super fund, is a key investor in IIG’s Solar Income Fund. Future Super’s managing director Simon Sheikh notes, “Our members want to grow their savings through investment in smart climate solutions, not harmful fossil fuels. While Prime Minister Turnbull struggles to keep aged coal-fire power stations like Liddell operational, the Williamsdale opening is yet more evidence of the growing investment case for renewable energy.
“The 20-year power purchase agreement will provide a reliable, long-term income stream for the Future Super portfolio and other investors in the IIG Solar Income Fund. Our investment demonstrates the important role superannuation can play in upgrading Australia’s grid to 100 percent renewable energy,” Sheihk says.
IIG has also developed a pipeline of new solar farms in preparation for launching a second solar energy investment fund later in the financial year.
Image courtesy of Williamsdale Solar Farm.