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CEFC finances AACo installations as part of solar strategy

31 July 2013

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation and National Australia Bank (NAB), are co-financing solar installations for Australia's largest beef cattle producer the Australian Agricultural Company Limited (AACo), as part of a broader solar investment strategy.

CEFC CEO Oliver Yates said the CEFC had received a strong response from the solar sector with a range of investment opportunities focused on overcoming financial impediments for investment and new financing models for a range of solar technologies in Australia.

"The utility and commercial sector business case continues to improve as the relative cost of solar energy generation falls," he said.

"However, there are still impediments to business investment in solar. We can help catalyse investment and increase capital to fund the market and reduce finance costs of both shorter-term bank funding and longer-term investment.

"The CEFC has received strong market interest for aggregation finance and delivery models for smaller individual projects in the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as for large-scale solar utility projects"

The $990,000 AACo project was co-financed by National Australia Bank (NAB) and the CEFC, with finance originally developed through Low Carbon Australia, which is now integrated into the CEFC. (NOTE: The CEFC’s finance was fully repaid in March 2019).

AACo CEO and Managing Director  David Farley said photo voltaic (PV) systems would be installed across 15 grid-connected sites in Queensland.  Locations include stations at Julia Creek, Normanton, Dalby, Surat and Comet.

"These systems will enable us to cut our current grid energy consumption and associated carbon emissions by nearly 30 per cent," Mr Farley said.

Commenting on the transaction, Ben Edney, General Manager, Client Solutions & Advisory at NAB said: "The AACo project demonstrates the business benefits of commercial scale solar investment and the additional value that can come from partnering with the CEFC".

AACo is a world leading provider of beef and agricultural products and its farm sites cover more than 7.2 million hectares across Queensland and the Northern Territory.

"The solar program is part of our plans to implement sustainable environmental management that protects and enhances the resources that support our production systems and help us secure our long-term future," Mr Farley said.

About AACo

Listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, The Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) is Australia's largest beef company and a world-leading provider of beef and agricultural products.

The company has over 600,000 head of cattle, 19 cattle stations, 2 feedlots and three farm sites across more than 7.2 million hectares of land within Queensland and the Northern Territory.  It is the world's largest Wagyu beef producer, with an estimated production of more than 30,000 head per year.

AACo won the prestigious Agribusiness Award at the 50th Australian Export Awards, in 2012. The award recognises outstanding export achievement in the field of agricultural products, services or technology and the forestry, fisheries and fibres industries.

Media release, 2013

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