Amazon inks first Australian PPA to buy output from NSW Gunnedah Solar Farm

Online retailing giant Amazon has signed a new deal for the supply of renewable energy for its Australian operations, agreeing with Canadian Solar to buy the output of its 146MW Gunnedah solar farm in New South Wales.

The deal is one of many power purchase agreements being entered into by Amazon globally as it aims for 80 per cent renewable energy supply by 2024 and 100 per cent by 2030, on path to net zero carbon by 2040.

It is a first, however, for the “e-tailer” in Australia and one of the first for Canadian Solar in Australia, where the PV giant says it is making its “strategic entry” into the local large C&I PPA market.*

“Canadian Solar is a leading developer in the Australian solar market, where we have a pipeline of nearly 1.2 GW, including 335MW of projects ready to build,” said Canadian Solar chairman and CEO Shawn Qu in a statement on Thursday.

“We look forward to growing our solar projects and solar module supply businesses in Australia, while expanding into other C&I sectors in this region. We see a bright future ahead as Australia continues to expand its renewable energy market.”

The Gunnedah project is a single-axis tracking project under construction west of Tamworth in regional New South Wales, which Canadian Solar says is expected to reach commercial generation by 2021.

Its original developer was Photon Energy, which solar a 25 per cent share to Canadian Solar as part of a co-development agreement two years ago. Canadian Solar then took over completely in August last year.

“Canadian Solar is very proud to sign this power purchase agreement with Amazon. Our team has worked hard to bring this opportunity to fruition, and we look forward to further collaboration with Amazon, while we bring the Gunnedah project to commercial operation,” Qu said.

“We are honored to help Amazon meet its renewable energy goals by utilizing our solar technology and development expertise.”

In its own statement about the Australian PPA – announced alongside new renewable off-take deals in the US and Europe – Amazon said it was “on a mission” to meet the Paris climate target 10 years early.

“These new renewable energy projects are part of our roadmap to 80% renewable energy by 2024 and 100% renewable energy by 2030,” said Kara Hurst, VP of sustainability, Amazon.

“In addition to the environmental benefits inherently associated with running applications in the cloud, investing in renewable energy is a critical step toward addressing our carbon footprint globally.”

*This article has been corrected to reflect the fact that Canadian Solar has entered into a PPA in Australia before, via the Victorian government’s Renewable Energy Auction for the Carwarp Solar Farm.

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