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CEFC congratulates ARENA on milestone and looks forward to supporting growth in large scale solar

14 January 2016

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has congratulated the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) on shortlisting 22 large-scale solar projects for potential funding, as both agencies work to accelerate the development of Australia’s renewable energy sector, with a particular focus on large-scale solar.

ARENA has selected 22 photovoltaic (PV) projects from across Australia to proceed to the next stage of its $100 million funding offer by making a full application for assessment by 15 June, 2016. The 22 shortlisted projects have a total capacity of 766 megawatts (MW).

The CEFC is also progressing the assessment of projects applying for finance under its $250 million Large-Scale Solar program, which is operating alongside the ARENA program.

CEFC CEO Oliver Yates said it was encouraging to see strong investor interest in building the next generation of Australia’s renewable energy infrastructure.

“We expect these large-scale projects will require capital in addition to ARENA’s funding and the CEFC is in a position to assist with the debt side of this financing,” Mr Yates said.

“We expect our work with ARENA to support the development of Australia’s large-scale solar capacity, building sector knowledge and skills that will ultimately help drive down the cost and increase the accessibility of this renewable energy technology. This makes good sense given Australia’s abundant sunshine.”

CEFC finance is currently supporting the development of about one third of the total 300MW of large scale solar installed or under construction in Australia.

The CEFC’s Large-Scale Solar program is aimed at providing fixed rate longer-dated debt finance to solar PV projects of 10MW and above, for sponsors seeking loans of $15 million or more. The program is open to projects that have, or intend to seek, Power Purchase Agreements, as well as projects proposing to take some merchant electricity market exposure.

Loans sourced through the program can be used to complement ARENA’s Large-Scale Solar PV Competitive Round funding program, as well as other large-scale renewable energy development programs. While not all projects will be able to proceed under this current program, the projects potentially seeking CEFC finance range from 15MW to 200MW and are geographically diverse, including: Queensland (1,150MW); NSW (700MW), SA (250MW), WA (150MW) and Victoria (135MW).

Mr Yates added: “The CEFC Large-Scale Solar program has brought forward proposals for some 55 potential projects, with a potential total generating capacity of 2.3GW. While many of these projects are in the very early stages of consideration, we look forward to working with proponents to provide finance solutions where this can assist with the project proceeding.

“We are focused on providing viable projects with attractive long-term finance to rapidly accelerate Australia’s large-scale solar options. While we would expect a small number of these projects to proceed to development, it is very encouraging to see strong investor interest in building the next generation of Australia’s renewable energy infrastructure.”