BlackRock takes majority stake in Australian solar farm

Postado Agosto 12, 2017

Long-term debt finance to the project, believed to be around AUD90m (€60m), will be provided by Australia's Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the French bank, Natixis.

The two projects in the portfolio, the 150-MW Daydream and 50-MW Hayman solar parks, are nearing the start of construction.

They are located near its 57.5MW Whitsunday Solar Farm and the 57.5MW Hamilton Solar Farm, which are already under construction.

Another 42MW solar farm is being developed by RATCH-Australia, at the site of the disused Collinsville coal-fired power station.

CEFC solar lead Gloria Chan said the transaction marks a turning point for large-scale solar financing in Australia as the lenders were comfortable with providing long-term finance that extended past the period covered by the contracted offtake agreement. These new investments take BlackRock's worldwide renewable energy investments to more than $6 billion.

Earlier this week, BlackRock announced that it had invested in the debt of an operational solar project in Spain owned and operated by Solaria Energía y Medio Ambiente.

BlackRock Real Assets has acquired a majority interest in a Queensland solar energy project, representing one of Australia's largest solar portfolio financings to date. "Edify will retain 10 per cent of the equity interest and provide the projects with construction and long-term asset management services", said BlackRock.

Financed through BlackRock Real Assets, the 150MW and 50MW solar farms are expected to commence operations in 2018.

Energy generated by the Hayman solar farm will be sold into the grid on a merchant basis. CEFC chief executive Ian Learmonth said the two farms "are helping drive Australia's clean energy transformation, by taking advantage of ideal solar energy generation conditions and building experience and expertise in the sector".

The projects have the ability to integrate future storage solutions, he said. "It further demonstrates that it is now possible to develop commercially viable large-scale solar projects without grant funding". The projects consist of about two million solar panels.

BlackRock Renewable Power portfolio manager Charlie Reid said: "The acquisition adds further solar resource and country diversification to our global platform and our existing renewable power portfolio".

Chief executive John Cole described the partnership with BlackRock as "a real coup" for Edify and said it is a major step towards bringing solar renewable power into the mainstream investment space in Australia.