Aussie university inks landmark solar energy deal to become fully solar powered

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-15 09:03:08|Editor: Lifang
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SYDNEY, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Australia's University of New South Wales (UNSW) has signed an unprecedented tripartite deal, involving Australian-Chinese solar company Maoneng Australia and Sydney-based energy supplier Origin Energy, to become fully solar powered, the educational institution announced on Monday.

The 15-year arrangement, touted as the first of its kind that brings together a "retailer, developer and corporate", allows UNSW "to go fully energy carbon neutral" with all of its energy needs supplied by solar power, according to the university's media office.

"This landmark initiative is an exciting step toward realizing UNSW's goal of carbon neutrality on energy use by 2020 and reflects our commitment to making a positive global impact," UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs was quoted as saying.

Under the deal, the university will buy up to 124,000 MWh of renewable energy a year -- meeting its annual energy needs from 2019 -- from Maoneng's Sunraysia Solar Farm in the southwestern part of New South Wales state.

The farm itself is expected to generate about 530,000 MWh of electricity a year, to be transmitted throughout New South Wales and Victoria states, making it the largest facility of its kind in the country, according to the company.

The agreement is "not only great for the environment but will deliver jobs and investment" in the region, the state's Energy Minister Don Harwin was quoted as saying.

Maoneng's collaboration with the university and the energy supplier through an "open dialogue" creates a solar corporate power purchase agreement template that "not only works for UNSW, but can be replicated and tailored to fulfil the specific needs of each customer", the company's project finance director Kevin Chen was quoted as saying.

Construction of the Sunraysia Solar Farm is set to begin later this year, with solar energy generation expected to roll out in the second quarter of next year.