Case study: how a high-rise university is giving regional solar a boost

A deal between the University of Technology Sydney and a new solar farm will save UTS money and boost a regional economy.

A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and a fledgling $40 million solar farm will not only save the university money – it will also help secure the farm’s long-term future and reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

UTS has committed to purchase the equivalent of half of its annual electricity from the soon-to-be-built Walgett Solar Farm for 12 years. It’s great news for Epuron, the developer, which can now prove to banks and other lenders that its farm in regional NSW will be able to operate profitably.

A welcome win-win

“The contract means the farm will get steady revenues month by month and year by year for more than a decade,” said UTS Green Infrastructure Project Manager Jonathan Prendergast. “It will enable Epuron to secure a bank loan to finish building the plant because they can now prove they can make their repayments.

“Without the deal, the plant might never have been finished.”

The PPA will help UTS save the university money over the long term by delivering energy at a competitive, fixed price. It also demonstrates how inner-city organisations can use their muscle to help develop NSW’s renewable energy infrastructure.

Positive influence

“We are committed to finding sustainable ways to reduce our environmental impact,” said UTS Vice-Chancellor Attila Brungs. “But we don’t just want to create improvement for ourselves, we want to change whole systems to enable others to also improve their sustainability.”

Prendergast said UTS students have welcomed the news: “They are always asking us questions about what we’re doing, and it’s great to be able to respond to them positively.”

The Business Renewables Centre Australia is an excellent resource if you’re considering renewable energy for your organisation.

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