SAN JOSE, Calif. and MELBOURNE, Australia, Aug. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Epuron and SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) have partnered to quadruple the size of the Uterne solar power plant, bringing clean energy to approximately 1,000 Alice Springs homes each year when the plant is expected to be completed in 2015. Financing from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) will fund the expansion, increasing the size of Uterne from 1 megawatt to 4.1 megawatts.
"Uterne has proven to be a valuable part of our solar energy portfolio which will increase in size to over 5 megawatts of operational capacity," said Epuron Executive Director Andrew Durran. "Adding capacity with industry-leading SunPower technology ensures that the plant will continue to deliver predictable, emissions-free electricity over the long term."
SunPower has been contracted to design and build the 3.1-megawatt expansion of Uterne with high-efficiency SunPower solar panels mounted on SunPower® T0 Trackers, which position panels to follow the sun throughout the day, increasing energy production while minimizing land use. The additional 3.1 megawatts of T0 Trackers will be installed on 3 hectares, adjacent to the 1-megawatt solar power plant, which features SunPower® T20 Trackers currently installed and operating on 3 hectares.
"Epuron's decision to expand Uterne in the Northern Territory proves that solar is a reliable and cost-competitive substitute for conventional energy sources such as diesel and gas," said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, regions. "By providing long-term operations and management services, SunPower will help ensure Uterne continues to meet or exceed production expectations over the project's lifetime, leveraging our global experience deploying and operating more than 1,000 megawatts of utility-scale solar power systems."
CEFC is providing a $13 million loan to Epuron for Uterne's expansion, which uses a financing structure that is rare for deals of this size. It is expected to drive down transaction costs and help make projects like this more attractive to commercial financing institutions.
"This project is a good example of bringing together an Australian company with leading global expertise to make the most of our abundant solar resources," said Oliver Yates, CEFC CEO. "The CEFC has identified huge, untapped potential for utility-scale solar power in this country and the CEFC financing for Uterne demonstrates the potential for these projects."
Standing behind Uterne since the 1-megawatt solar power plant was commissioned by SunPower in June 2011 as part of the Alice Solar City program, is a long-term power purchase agreement offered by the Northern Territory's Power and Water Corporation (PWC). PWC will also purchase the clean electricity produced by the 3.1-megawatt expansion.
"PWC is pleased to work with Epuron and SunPower to develop and expand the Uterne solar project to the point where it is a significant contributor to the energy mix in Alice Springs," said Trevor Horman, Manager Sustainable Energy, Power and Water Corporation, Northern Territory. "Once the expanded portion of Uterne is commissioned, the overall level of solar generation on an annual basis is expected to meet more than six percent of the city's electricity needs."
Epuron acquired the initial 1-megawatt Uterne in October 2012 from SunPower after SunPower developed and constructed the solar power plant. SunPower has had a footprint in Australia since 2008, designing and installing systems for utility and commercial customers like Horizon Power, Watershed Premium Wines and Perth Zoo, as well as residential customers across the country. The company has an office in Melbourne and a presence in every mainland state.
Each partner's obligations under the partnership, as well as project financing and project completion, are subject to terms of the related agreements, including customary closing conditions.
The capacity of the Uterne power plant projects discussed in this release are described in approximate megawatts on a direct current (dc) basis.
About SunPower Corp.
SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) designs, manufactures and delivers the highest efficiency, highest reliability solar panels and systems available today. Residential, business, government and utility customers rely on the company's quarter century of experience and guaranteed performance to provide maximum return on investment throughout the life of the solar system. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia. For more information on SunPower, visit www.sunpower.com.
Founded in 2003, Epuron is a leading, privately-owned Australian renewable energy company with a focus on development, ownership and operation of utility-scale renewable energy projects. In solar energy, Epuron's focus is megawatt-scale power generation in both grid-connected and off-grid markets. Epuron is also one of Australia's most successful wind farm developers. The expansion of Uterne will increase Epuron's total solar portfolio capacity to over 5 megawatts. In addition to Uterne, Epuron owns and operates three off-grid solar projects located in the Northern Territory. These projects all displace diesel usage in these remote communities. For more information, visit www.epuron.com.au.
About Clean Energy Finance Corporation
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) invests using a commercial approach to overcome market barriers and mobilise investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies.
As at 30 June 2014, the CEFC has contracted investments of over $900 million in projects with a total value of over $3 billion. The CEFC invests for a positive return, with its more than 40 direct investments and 25 projects co-financed under aggregation programs expected to achieve an average financial yield of about 7 percent.
These CEFC investments are expected to achieve abatement of 4.2 million tonnes of CO2e per annum with a positive net benefit to the taxpayer in the order of $2.40 per tonne CO2e. They help to improve energy productivity for businesses across Australia, develop local industries and generate new employment opportunities.
The CEFC operates under the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012. More information is available on our website www.cleanenergyfinancecorp.com.au.
About Power and Water Corporation
Power and Water Corporation is a government owned corporation that provides power network, water and sewerage services to the Northern Territory. Since 2003, Power and Water has facilitated the construction of eight solar power stations in the Northern Territory as part of its vision to displace diesel fuel generated electricity in remote communities. Prior to this in 1983, Alice Springs became the first town in Australia to transition from diesel to gas fired electricity generation. Power and Water Corporation is regarded as one of the most progressive utilities providers in Australia in terms of embracing renewable energy.
SUNPOWER is a registered trademark of SunPower Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
SOURCE SunPower Corp.