• Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) of Australia has committed to providing $77 million to three large-scale solar power projects
  • Two projects have 57.5 MW capacity each, both located in Queensland
  • Another 50 MW project to receive CEFC financing is the Gannawarra Solar Farm in Victoria
  • Edify Energy and Wirsol will extend equity investment for the projects, and syndicated senior debt facility will come from the CEFC, Commonwealth Bank and Germany’s NORD/LB
  • All the projects are scheduled to become operational by the beginning of 2018

Three projects with a combined solar power capacity of 165 MW in Australia have secured financing of $77 million from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) of the Department of Environment and Energy, which will be disbursing the money under its large-scale solar financing program. This is the country’s largest single solar project financing deal to date.

The three projects are being developed by Edify Energy, an Australian renewable energy development and investment company, along with international renewable energy investor Wirsol.

Equity for all these projects will come from Edify Energy and Wirsol, while syndicated senior debt facility is being provided by the CEFC, Commonwealth Bank and Germany’s NORD/LB.

“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,” said CEFC Large-Scale Solar Program Leader Gloria Chan.

Among the three projects, the 57.5 MW Whitsunday Solar Farm is located in the north of Collinsville in Queensland. Post commissioning, it is expected to generate around 144,000 MWh of clean energy annually. It will be selling all this electricity to the Queensland Government under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA). The project will also receive up to $9.5 million in grant funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as part of its large-scale solar funding round.

Another beneficiary of the CEFC financing is the 57.5 MW Hamilton Solar Farm, also located north of Collinsville in Queensland. Once operational, it
is likely to generate 144,000 MWh of solar power which will be sold into the grid on a predominantly uncontracted or merchant basis.

In what is CEFC’s first commitment to a Victorian Solar Farm, the third project is the 50 MW Gannawarra Solar Farm in the west of Kerang in Victoria. It would generate about 116,000 MWh of clean energy annually that has a 13-year PPA with EnergyAustralia.

All these projects are expected to become operational by the beginning of 2018. An estimated 300 jobs will be created during the period of construction.

This investment takes CEFC’s total commitment to large-scale solar projects beyond the intial planned $250 million. Previously it committed $150 million investment to three large-scale solar projects in regional New South Wales, and $54 million to the Kidston Solar Project. Another $20 million equity investment will go to Australia’s largest solar farm at Ross River in Queensland, reported CEFC.

The 142 MW Ross River Solar Farm will supply 80% clean energy generated to energy retailer EnergyAustralia (see PPA Signed For 142 MW PV Capacity In Australia).