In what is billed as the first deal of its kind in the world for a university, the University of New South Wales has reached an agreement with Maoneng Australia and Origin Energy to have 100 per cent of its energy supplied by photovoltaic solar energy.
UNSW has signed a 15-year solar supply agreement with developer Maoneng and the energy company, which will allow the university to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality on energy use by 2020.
UNSW will become the first university worldwide to go fully energy carbon neutral with 100 per cent of its needs supplied by solar photovoltaics.
UNSW president and vice-chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs said the agreement was part of the university’s goal of carbon neutrality on energy use by 2020.
“The Solar PPA arrangement will allow UNSW to secure carbon emission-free electricity supplies at a cost which is economically and environmentally attractive when compared to fossil fuel-sourced supplies.
“Over the past six months, UNSW has collaborated with our contract partners Maoneng and Origin to develop a Solar PPA model that leads the way in renewable energy procurement and reflects our commitment to global impact outlined in our 2025 Strategy.”
The agreement will see UNSW purchase up to 124,000 MWh of renewable energy per annum from Maoneng’s Sunraysia Solar Farm near Balranald in south-western NSW, meeting UNSW’s annual energy requirement starting in 2019.
The deal includes 13 main electricity accounts across the main Kensington campus and also a few smaller campuses around Sydney.
UNSW energy manager Nick Jones said that more than 100 buildings would be powered by solar.
A three-year retail firming contract was also signed with Origin, as the electricity retailer, to manage the intermittency of solar production.
Construction of the Sunraysia Solar Farm 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.