Big behind-the-meter solar farm to help power W.A. mineral sands project

Plans to build a 2.3MW solar farm to help power a mineral sands project in Western Australia’s North Perth Basin will go ahead after new renewables investment outfit Climate Capital agreed to buy a majority stake in the project.

The behind-the-meter installation is being built to bolster the existing grid-connected power supply the Boonanarring mineral sands project owned by Image Resources.

In a statement on Friday, Climate Capital said it had agreed to acquire a majority stake in the solar farm from Sunrise Energy and would fund its completion, with Sunrise to undertake Engineering Procurement and Construction of the project.

The project marks Climate Capital’s first investment since the close of its first-round capital raise in early 2018. The company aims to provide co-investment opportunities for its shareholders in solar, wind and hydro-electricity.

Climate Capital CEO Dominic Churchill said the company had been working with Sunrise and Image for the better part of a year to get the solar project up.

“A key part of our investment thesis is that there are many opportunities to work directly with the corporate sector to develop smaller-scale projects that can avoid many of the network connection and commercial challenges faced by large and remote renewable project,” he said.

“We look forward to pursuing more opportunities with Sunrise Energy and other developer partners, and progressing our internally-originated projects, to add to our flexible investment platform.”

Neil Canby, Sunrise Energy Group’s executive director said he was delighted to see the project going ahead, having overcome a number of challenges since it was first announced in April 2018.

“The project demonstrates the potential for the corporate sector to reduce energy costs and improve emissions profiles by facilitating renewable energy solutions,” Canby said.

“In particular, it demonstrates that distributed energy projects can be successful for commercial and industrial customers in Western Australia, which has a very different market to the National Electricity Market in the Eastern States.”

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