French renewable energy producer Neoen has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) in Australia with publicly-owned renewable generator CleanCo.

As per the terms of the PPA, CleanCo will purchase 320MW of clean energy from Neoen’s Western Downs Green Power Hub photovoltaic (PV) project.

Neoen Australia managing director Louis de Sambucy said: “We are 100% committed to delivering this landmark deal by making the most of the region’s abundant solar resources, the use of cutting edge bifacial solar panel technology, and our experience in delivering ground-breaking solar farms on time and on budget.”

With the signing of PPA, Neoen will begin construction works for the 400MW Western Downs solar PV project in July this year near the town of Chinchilla, situated in the Western Downs region of Queensland.

Located 22km south-east of Chinchilla, Neoen’s Western Downs Green Power Hub will be connected to the electricity grid through a new overhead line to publicly-owned Powerlink’s existing Western Downs substation.

During the construction phases, the project is expected to create nearly 400 employment opportunities in the region.

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By GlobalData

The project is expected to commence its commercial operations by the first quarter of 2022.

Once completed, the Western Downs solar PV project is said to become the largest solar farm in Australia and will generate clean energy that will be sufficient to power 235,000 Queensland homes.

Queensland energy minister Dr Anthony Lynham said: “Neoen will maximise the use of suppliers and the local workforce in Chinchilla and the south-west to ensure the benefits of this development are shared in the region.

“It will also establish an annual $100,000 community benefit fund that provides opportunities for local community-building initiatives for the duration of the project’s life.

“Importantly, this maintains Queensland’s progress towards the Palaszczuk Labor Government target of 50% renewable energy by 2030.”

Last July, Victoria Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio opened Neoen’s 128MW Numurkah solar farm.

The solar farm was equipped with nearly 350,000 solar panels installed on 500 hectares of land south of Numurkah in Victoria, Australia.