The ‘build and operate’ deal involves three new large-scale solar farms: Whitsunday and Hamilton in Queensland, and Gannawarra in Victoria.
When complete early next year, they will together provide 198 MW.
Mark Hogan, Wirsol Energy managing director said: “We are thrilled to announce the successful acquisition and refinancing of this portfolio as it marks our first move into the Australian renewables sector. Our success in Australia has been driven by the significant experience accrued in the European market and deploying 1 GW of solar to date. We believe this transaction demonstrates the importance of bringing together industry knowledge and local expertise to successfully develop, construct and finance large-scale renewable projects.
He added that the company aims to deploy 1GW of solar power across Australia by 2020.
Edify Energy chief executive John Cole said he is confident that investment in large-scale renewable energy will become more common place. “Transactions such as this demonstrate that the combination of project development, structuring expertise and investment confidence is once again present in the Australian renewable sector. Since acquiring the sites from Solar Choice in 2015, we have taken these projects through the whole land, planning, grid connection and financing process, always with a view to maximising the volume of capacity we can deliver. We are looking to replicate this scale mindset across the rest of our development pipeline and hope to hear of other project developers doing the same.”
Issuing long-term debt to renewable projects is rare for domestic commercial banks such as CBA, particularly considering the large merchant component to the portfolio. Elgar Middleton were financial advisers to the transaction. Ashurst, Norton Rose Fulbright and Allens provided legal advice.