UK investment firm invests $36m in NSW solar market

UK-based investment firm Global Sustainable Energy Opportunities has increased its Australian solar PV portfolio, committing $36m (£21.2m) to acquire three more solar projects with a combined capacity of 15MW.

Global Sustainable Energy Opportunities (GSEO), the renewable energy-focused subsidiary of international investment giant Victory Hill Capital Group, said it had agreed to acquire three large-scale solar projects in New South Wales ( NSW) as part of its wider $95m (£50m) Australian Solar PV and Battery Energy Storage Investment Strategy.

GSEO declined to specify the locations of the three individual 5MW projects, but said they were “fully licensed” and construction of the assets should begin later this year. Commercial operations are expected to be completed in the second quarter of next year.

Output from the three photovoltaic plants is expected to be sold on a merchant basis and through power purchase agreements (PPAs).

GSEO said it is also exploring the possibility of collocating battery energy storage systems with up to two hours of capacity at each site.

“We are keenly aware of how far Australians have come to meet the challenges of tackling climate change, while ensuring that the country benefits from a reliable energy system in which renewable energy generation is fully integrated” , said co-chief investment officer Richard Lum. said in a statement.

GSEO said that as part of the transaction, it will retain exclusivity to acquire two further projects of 5 MW each.

The acquisition follows GSEO’s initial entry into the Australian market last year when, together with its Melbourne-based partner Birdwood Energy, it announced the $25m (£15m) purchase ) of two solar photovoltaic sites in operation, totaling 17 MWdp, in South Australia and Queensland.

GSEO said the installation of a battery energy storage system at one of the original sites has already begun, saying that the co-location of storage capacity is “an essential part of the strategy of investment”.

“The trust is committed to addressing the intermittency issues facing countries such as Australia, in particular the mismatch between when electricity is generated and when it is actually used,” said said the company. “By integrating battery storage energy into solar farms, the problem of intermittency is solved and the imperative to fire coal-fired power plants decreases.”

GSEO said the addition of battery storage capacity at the sites will also allow greater ability to capture positive movements in electricity prices, prevent overexposure to negative electricity prices and enable it to benefit from energy arbitrage opportunities and revenues from frequency services.

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