As financing partners, Commonwealth Bank, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and NORD/LB, together provided a long term senior debt facility of $230 million towards the project.
During construction, more than 675,000 solar panels will be installed at the three planned solar farms: Whitsunday and Hamilton solar farms north of Collinsville in Queensland, and the Gannawarra solar farm west of Kerang in Victoria.
The combined project is expected to add 165MW (AC) of renewable energy capacity to the national electricity grid by Q1 2018, generating enough electricity to power an estimated 87,000 households.
Australian renewable development and investment company Edify Energy will oversee development of the three solar farms, along with international investor Wirsol.
Commonwealth Bank Managing Director and Global Head of Infrastructure, Michael Thorpe said: “We are proud to be a financing partner to Edify Energy and this landmark transaction as a long-tenor financing partner. The strong risk profile and expertise of both Edify Energy and Wirsol contribute to excellent project fundamentals of the Whitsunday, Hamilton and Gannawarra solar farms.
“As a major bank we are pleased to lend and invest in Australian renewable energy generation, and we will continue to support the ongoing growth of large-scale, commercially viable renewable projects in Australia and overseas,” Thorpe said.
The projects secured a range of power purchase agreements and grant funding. The Whitsunday solar farm received an Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) large-scale solar grant, and also secured a 20-year contract with the Queensland Government. The Gannawarra solar farm entered into a 13-year purchase agreement with EnergyAustralia, and will be the first large-scale solar farm in Victoria. Energy generated by the Hamilton solar farm will be sold into the grid on a predominantly merchant basis.
The financing is in line with Commonwealth Bank’s growing commitment to renewable energy projects. Commonwealth Bank’s lending exposure to renewable electricity generation was $2.3 billion at 31 December 2016, 35 per cent higher than a year earlier.
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