CEFC injects $77m into three large-scale solar projects

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has announced a $77 million investment in three new large-scale solar projects.

The latest projects are the 57.5MW Whitsunday Solar Project, the 57.5MW Hamilton Solar Farm, and the 50MW Gannawarra Solar Farm.

All projects are expected to be operational by the start of 2018, adding a combined 165MW of renewable energy to the national electricity grid, enough to power an estimated 87,000 homes.

Edify Energy is developing the projects, which will lead to 300 jobs during construction.

The transaction marks Australia’s largest single solar project financing deal to date.

“This latest package of transactions sets an exciting new benchmark in the provision of finance to accelerate the development and delivery of renewable energy projects in Australia,” CEFC large-scale solar program 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 Whitsunday Solar Farm and the Hamilton Solar Farm are both located near Collinsville in Queensland.

The projects are expected to generate around 144,000MWh of energy annually each, enough to power more than 60,000 homes in total.

The Gannawarra Solar Farm, west of Kerang in Victoria, has a 13-year PPA with EnergyAustralia and is expected to generate about 116,000MWh of energy annually.

Edify Energy chief executive John Cole welcomed confirmation of the financing package, which will allow the projects to begin construction in the near future.

“We applaud the work of the CEFC in lending to large-scale solar projects, in this case, side-by-side with both domestic and international commercial lenders,” Mr Cole said.

“This diverse lenders’ group is testament to the quality of the three projects.

“Large-scale solar is finally growing at a pace and making a real impact in Australia’s energy mix.

The CEFC recently announced a $150 million investment in three large-scale solar projects in regional New South Wales, as well as a $54 million commitment to the Kidston Solar Project near Townsville.