BlackRock Invests in Growing Australian Solar Market

Eloi Lecerf
Agosto 12, 2017

The CEFC is lending around $90 million to the latest Edify Energy projects, as part of a syndicated debt facility involving Commonwealth Bank and French investment bank Natixis.

The 150-megawatt Daydream and 50-megawatt Hayman solar farms are ready for construction and expected to be operational in 2018.

They are located near its 57.5MW Whitsunday Solar Farm and the 57.5MW Hamilton Solar Farm, which are already under construction. The fifth plant is a 42MW (AC) farm being developed by RATCH-Australia Corporation.

The investment, which gives BlackRock a 90 per cent interest in the 2ooMW solar portfolio, marks the global investment company's first foray into renewables, through a fund focused on investing in wind and solar globally.

The assets were bought through a private fund managed by BlackRock Real Assets, with long-term debt financing provided by the government's Australia's Clean Energy Finance Corp., Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd. and global investment firm Natixis.

All five projects have secured finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which has committed more than $900 million to solar and $2.7 billion to clean energy projects and programs.

In May, Origin Energy Ltd. (ORG.AU) sold its Darling Downs solar farm project in Queensland to energy-infrastructure operator APA Group in a deal that had it agree to buy all the power generated by the farm until 2030.

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Edify will retain 10 per cent of the equity interest and provide the projects with construction and long-term asset management services. Hayman, however, will operate as a merchant plant.

"These developments 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", Learmonth said.

The projects have the ability to integrate future storage solutions, he said.

"This demonstrates a growing understanding of the investment opportunity available through large-scale solar, and a willingness to provide patient capital to develop this important renewable energy resource", Chan said.

The assets have been acquired through a private fund managed by BlackRock Real Assets, which invests in wind and solar assets globally.

BlackRock Australia head Dominik Rohe said: "We are pleased to add renewable power capabilities to the local investment platform, as we leverage the unprecedented investment opportunities in this space while continuing to build out and diversify BlackRock's Australian business".

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