CEFC invests AU$77 million in Queensland and Victoria PV farms

The projects with a combined capacity of 165MW(ac) are due to come online by 2018. Credit: Wirsol

Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has invested AU$77 million (US$58.3 million) in three solar projects in Queensland and Victoria.

The CEFC, Commonwealth Bank and Germany's NORD/LB have committed to a syndicated senior debt facility to support the three projects with Edify Energy and Wirsol providing equity. CEFC said this is Australia's largest solar project financing deal to date.

The projects with a combined capacity of 165MW(ac) are due to come online by 2018. These include:

  • The 57.5MW(ac) Whitsunday Solar Farm, north of Collinsville, which has a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Queensland Government,
  • The 57.5MW(ac) Hamilton Solar Farm, also north of Collinsville, with energy to be sold to the grid mainly through an uncontracted or merchant basis.
  • The 50MW(ac) Gannawarra Solar Farm, west of Kerang in Victoria, which has a 13-year PPA with EnergyAustralia

CEFC has now surpassed its original AU$250 million target under Australia's large-scale solar programme, reaching AU$281 million of commitments to seven projects so far.

CEFC large-scale solar programme lead, Gloria Chan said: “The Commonwealth Bank and NORD/LB worked alongside the CEFC to complete the financing over a longer tenor, which is notable given the merchant price risk component of the project. This trend of increasing competition and appetite for renewables among domestic lenders is central to the ongoing development of large scale solar in Australia.”

The CEFC recently announced a $150 million investment commitment to three large-scale solar projects in regional New South Wales, as well as a $54 million commitment to the innovative Kidston Solar Project near Townsville, which is looking to combine solar generation with pumped hydro storage.

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