The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, has signed an agreement with Maoneng Australia and Origin Energy for an offsite Solar PV Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (Solar PPA).
The 15-year solar supply agreement with Maoneng is the first of its kind in Australia and will allow UNSW to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality on energy use by 2020. UNSW believes it is the first university in the world to go fully energy carbon neutral with 100% of its needs supplied by solar photovoltaics.
“This landmark initiative is an exciting step towards realizing UNSW’s goal of carbon neutrality on energy use by 2020 and reflects our commitment to making a positive global impact,” said UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs.
“UNSW researchers, in particular Professor Martin Green and the late Professor Stuart Wenham and their teams, have been instrumental in ensuring that solar energy is affordable and accessible to all –- today’s announcement is a testament to their work,” concluded Professor Jacobs.
The agreement, which was signed at the end of 2017, will see UNSW purchase up to 124,000 MWh of renewable energy per year from Maoneng’s Sunraysia Solar Farm near Balranald in south-western NSW, meeting UNSW’s annual energy requirement starting in 2019.
A three-year retail firming contract was also signed with Origin, as the electricity retailer, to manage the intermittency of solar production.
NSW Minister for Energy Don Harwin said the agreement was evidence of UNSW’s leadership in renewables.
“Already a world leader in solar PV technologies, this agreement is yet another demonstration of UNSW’s commitment to a clean energy future,” said Harwin.
Energy Action’s Chief Executive Officer, Ivan Slavich, said: “This ground-breaking agreement provides UNSW with a direct line of sight over the source of renewables supply, reduced emissions, and greater certainty around prices over the next 15 years.”
The Sunraysia Solar Farm development will include a visitor’s center and weather monitoring system, with UNSW staff and students having site visit access for data sharing, research and case study purposes.
An annual financial scholarship worth $10,000 is included in the Solar PPA for students studying at Balranald Central School to attend UNSW, along with a series of presentations from UNSW to the school both onsite and via webinar on renewables technology and industry. Employment of local staff and subcontractors to develop the project is also encouraging for the local economy.
Construction is due to begin later this year, with completion and the start of solar energy generation expected in the second quarter of 2019. Origin will be providing electricity to UNSW during the solar farm construction.
Photo: UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Jacobs. The 142kW array is part of the 692kW of solar PV arrays currently installed across rooftops at the UNSW Kensington campus.(UNSW)