EnergyAustralia has agreed to buy 100MW of power generated from a new 150MW solar farm developed by French firm Neoen in New South Wales.

The long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) was signed by the Melbourne-based energy retailer with the solar farm located near Coleambally in the Riverina region.

It is the fifth PPA inked by EnergyAustralia after its December 2016 announcement of an A$1.5bn ($1.2bn) program to support development of new wind and solar projects in the eastern part of Australia.

So far, EnergyAustralia has supported over 500MW of new wind and solar capacity.

As per EnergyAustralia energy executive Mark Collette, the continued investment in new supplies of renewable energy is important to support Australia’s system as present coal generation is ceased.

The Coleambally solar farm will generate about generate approximately 380,000MWh of renewable energy which would be enough to cover the power consumption requirements of over 50,000 Australian households.

The project is also expected to open up about 300 roles during its construction besides seven jobs for its operations.

Neoen Australia managing director Franck Woitiez called the signing of the 12-year PPA as a key step in developing the Coleambally solar farm as part of the company’s expansion of its renewable energy portfolio in Australia.

Woitiez added: “Now, with EnergyAustralia’s support firmly in place, Neoen can concentrate on reaching financial close before the end of 2017.”

Construction of the Coleambally solar farm is slated to begin in late 2017 or early 2018.

Collette added: “We have a neutral view about the technology that will replace existing coal as a source of base-load supply, so long as it supports the delivery of reliable, affordable and cleaner energy.

“One thing is clear though – renewables are part of the solution and will make a major contribution to the development of a modern energy system in Australia.

“Bringing on these new supplies will require billions of dollars of investment but doing nothing means higher prices and less reliable energy for all customers.”