The Project Behind Sterling and Wilson Solars AUD 615 Million Win

The Project Behind Sterling and Wilson Solars AUD 615 Million Win

Last Week, Sterling and Wilson Solar (SWSL) announced its biggest, and second major contract in the Australia market, when it announced am AUD 615 million dollar win for an EPC and O&M contract in the country.  While the firm didnot disclose the name of the project, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the project is none other than the Western Downs project for Neoen, a major developer. The two had worked together on a project in Zambia earlier in 2018, for a 54.3 MW solar project backed by the World Bank. In Australia, before this, SWSLs biggest project was the 200 MW project in New South Wales for Lightsource BP, where it started construction in December 2019. The firm has had a presence in the continent since 2015.

Early in May, Neoen and CleanCo Queensland had signed a  landmark PPA for Australia’s largest solar farm, at 352 MWp. Considering the contract value quoted by SWSL, this project is the only existing project in Australia that fits that ticket size. The Paris-based Neoen currently has 3 GW solar projects in operation or under construction, with a target to reach 5 GW by 2021.

The Western Downs Green Power Hub is slated  to generate 1080 GWh of affordable clean energy each year, complementing CleanCo Queensland’s hydro generation.  Between 460 and 480 MWp in total size, Western Downs will become the largest solar
farm in Australia, bringing significant regional economic benefits to South West Queensland. For the € 253 million turnover (2019) Neoen, the project will also make it the leading renewable energy producer in the country. Construction on the Western Downs solar farm is expected to start in July, with generation from the project due to start in the first quarter of 2022.

For CleanCo Queensland, this is the second renewable energy offtake agreement since its establishment in December 2018, and it will contribute over 30% of the energy required for CleanCo Queensland to meet its target of 1 GW of new renewable generation by 2025. The publicly owned CleanCo Queensland has a mandate to support Queensland’s 50% renewable energy target by 2030. A time by when the sunshine state will hope to be powered significantly by sunshine.

For Sterling and Wilson Solar, successful execution of the project will further cement its reputation as the leading EPC player in the segment, and strengthen further opportunities in Australia as well as Europe, where a massive stimulus backed tendering process might soon be starting for renewable energy projects.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International