Letter | Does all this add up for proposed solar farm?

CONTENTIOUS: The debate about a proposed solar farm at Brewongle, on Bathurst's outskirts, continues.
CONTENTIOUS: The debate about a proposed solar farm at Brewongle, on Bathurst's outskirts, continues.

WE Brewongle residents have for some time now been asking State Government to immediately:

  1. Introduce vetting of proponents for a state significant development to ensure proper resources, etc for site research, etc; and
  2. Introduce a protocol demanding a proponent (before settling upon a site) consult with regional council, town planners, estate agents, etc and seek input and assistance in finding the right location in everyone’s interests.

By so doing, State Government will hopefully shut out under-resourced corporations racing to government provided but taxpayer funded subsidies, without proper location research.

Recently, Photon announced that it had reached an agreement with Canadian Solar. The agreement may be worded by Photon to sound grand, but in reality, and upon removing the “spin”, the agreement was reached by an under-resourced Photon.

Photon, some months ago, disposed of 49 per cent of its interest in several of its projects. The disposal was to Polpo Investments Pty Ltd.

Polpo was said by Photon to be a “local joint venture partner” with finance available. In reality, it was Photon’s own Christopher Guzowski’s company. Its assets were/are unknown. It is safe to assume they were/are minimal. Photon remained under-resourced.

Photon has now lost controlling interest in five of its projects. It has, it says, disposed of its 51pc to Canadian Solar, a corporation said to be providing “equity capital”, but subject to certain development milestones.

To remain in the picture, Photon re-acquired 24.99pc of the interest it had previously disposed of to Polpo Investments Pty Ltd.

So, Canadian Solar may (not will) now provide the funding to get these projects to “ready to build” stage. They will then be marketed once again.

How much damage has already been caused by an under-resourced corporation taking projects to this stage when the protocols outlined above are not in place? 

It should also be noted that Canadian Solar’s provision of “equity capital” is conditional. It may not happen.

How much uncertainty should an impacted community have to endure? How is Photon value-adding to any project?

The vetting and protocols we propose are, we suggest, urgently required to stop raffling of state significant projects.

This is a major State Government issue and our politicians ought to act now.

Photon Energy Australia managing director Michael Gartner suggested “interest from investors was overwhelming”. Was it really? If so, why not stop short of disposing of the controlling interest.

Will any payment by Canadian Solar, another offshore company, the lucky successful investor for this Australian-based project, attract income tax in this country? What a way to treat a state significant project.

Meanwhile, we Brewongle residents look forward to Photon again attempting, by saying nothing, to address our concerns at a public forum to be held in a few weeks’ time. More spin.

Peter Hennessy, Brewongle