Foresight purchases Barcaldine solar farm

Aerial view of Barcaldine Solar Farm.

Foresight Group has announced the acquisition of the 25MW Barcaldine Remote Community Solar Farm in Central Queensland from Spanish developer Elecnor for $33.4 million.

The sale, on behalf of KDB Infrastructure Investments Asset Management and Hanwha Energy, marks Foresight’s first Australian solar investment.

KIAMCO and Hanwha have provided equity financing for the project, which was developed by and acquired from Elecnor and its subsidiaries.

The company’s Sydney team, led by Foresight Director and Head of Australia Gary Sofarelli, has seen significant growth opportunities, following the November 2015 launch of the $200 million Australian Bioenergy Fund, which targets investments ranging from A$2m to A$50m into energy from waste projects across the continent backed by a cornerstone investment from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

“We are delighted to be working alongside prestigious financial institutions and investors such as KDB KIAMCO and Hanwha on the Barcaldine project,” Mr Sofarelli said.

“The project will be meaningful not only for the local community’s energy generation, but also as one of the early utility scale solar facilities being constructed in Australia.

“The acquisition has evidenced Foresight’s ability to apply its extensive solar expertise to the growing Australian market alongside the investors, with whom we look forward to delivering a strong pipeline of future energy projects both in Australia and around the world.

“Foresight will continue to work with developers and investors over the coming years to firmly establish itself as an astute energy infrastructure investment manager of solar, energy from waste and wind assets in Australia.”

Foresight has a pipeline of renewable energy projects in Australia, both in the solar and energy from waste sectors, and is pleased to be transferring its energy infrastructure leadership, expertise and focus from the European and North American markets, where it has established a $3 billion portfolio of energy infrastructure assets, to Australia.

The CEFC provided $20 million in debt finance for the Barcaldine Solar Farm, which will continue to be serviced under the new ownership.

CEFC Large-Scale Solar lead Gloria Chan said the fringe-of-grid location of the development has provided important learnings for other off-grid remote area solar PV projects.

“This acquisition further confirms the increasing commercial maturity of Australia’s large scale solar sector, while also demonstrating to developers that there is a commercial appetite for completed and operational projects,” she said.

The solar farm began generating and feeding electricity into the grid in December last year.

With the potential to produce enough renewable energy to power around 9800 households, the Barcaldine Remote Community Solar Farm is expected to reach full generation by the end of the year.