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CEFC reaches 1GW solar milestone with finance across 20 large scale solar projects

15 December 2017

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has reached a major investment milestone for large-scale solar development in Australia, with its latest two investments helping accelerate the delivery of more than 1GW in additional solar energy across 20 projects. 

The CEFC today announced it  had committed $207 million in debt finance to accelerate the development of 200MW of additional solar capacity across two WIRSOL Energy projects - the Wemen Solar Farm in Victoria and the Clermont Solar Farm in Queensland. 

With these latest commitments, the CEFC has invested in 20 large-scale solar projects since 2013, becoming Australia's largest solar investor, supporting projects across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. 

CEFC Large-Scale Solar Lead Monique Miller said: "Increasing the amount of renewable energy generation in our electricity mix is essential for the Australian economy to achieve net zero emissions in the second half of the century. Our investment in large-scale solar continues to play a major role in accelerating Australia's clean energy transition, with CEFC finance helping to demonstrate the commercial potential of these investments in the ongoing development of Australia's critical energy infrastructure." 

Ms Miller added: "The addition of more than 1GWp of new solar energy since 2013 equates to enough electricity to power about 375,000 average homes. While our solar investments represent just one per cent of Australia's total electricity generation, they represent a substantial reduction in carbon emissions, of around 1.8 million tonnes annually, making an important contribution to Australia's overall emissions reduction goals." 

The CEFC has committed $110 million in senior secured debt towards the 110MW Wemen Solar Farm near Mildura in Victoria and up to $97 million in senior secured debt towards the 90MW Clermont Solar Farm 400km west of Rockhampton in Queensland. 

The Wemen Solar Farm is expected to produce enough power to supply nearly 34,000 homes, while the Clermont development is expected to produce enough energy to supply nearly 31,000 homes. 

CEFC transaction lead Niall Brady said "The CEFC's role as sole debt financier would enable WIRSOL to begin construction on the two projects as early as January 2018, before having secured a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the solar output. 

Mr Brady added: "There is still a gap in investor appetite for projects that are in the process of finalising Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), which has the potential to delay construction. We are pleased to work with project proponents such as WIRSOL in helping to overcome these hurdles. 

"Australia's large-scale solar market is maturing, and we are pleased to see growing interest from private sector financiers in refinancing projects once they are contracted and operational, because of the lower perceived investment risk. 

"For a project sponsor, refinancing may offer the opportunity to borrow at a reduced cost once the project has a contracted revenue stream. The CEFC's role as an 'interim' financier is ultimately helping to crowd in additional private sector investment to support the sector's continued development."  

WIRSOL Managing Director Mark Hogan said: "We see strong potential for renewable energy in Australia, and these two projects are an important part of our evolving large-scale solar portfolio. We have been delighted to have the CEFC work alongside WIRSOL as we continue to invest in these exciting developments. These projects are at the heart of our strategy to become a leading fully integrated investor, owner and developer of large-scale solar developments in Australia." 

Finance for the Clermont Solar Farm is another example of the CEFC's focus on delivering clean energy solutions in the Great Barrier Reef Catchment Area, as part of its Reef Funding Program. 

CEFC LARGE-SCALE SOLAR COMMITMENTS: 2013-2017 

STATE 

NUMBER OF
PROJECTS 

CEFC COMMITMENT
(rounded) 

CAPACITY
(MEGAWATTS AC) 

Queensland 

12 

$440 million 

695 

NSW 

4 

$196 million 

166 

Victoria 

3 

$247 million 

248 

WA 

1 

$15 million 

10 

TOTAL 

20 

$898 million 

1,119 

 

ABOUT WIRSOL ENERGY PTY LTD 

WIRSOL Energy Pty Ltd has been a major player in the large scale renewable energy market since its creation in 2003. Starting in Germany as a subsidiary of the WIRCON Group, the company has grown to develop, construct and operate solar PV projects across Europe, the UK, and now in Australia. WIRSOL Energy Pty Ltd has excelled due to its highly developed skill set, particularly in securing high quality sites; facilitating network connection, securing off-take agreements and establishing development financing. WIRSOL's Australian office is located in Manly, NSW, the beachside suburb of Sydney that is fast becoming Australia's solar hub: www.wirsol.com.au.