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ANZ, NAB provide first bank finance for Australian solar farm

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ANZ and National Australian Bank will become the first to provide banking finance for a large scale solar project in Australia, after agreeing to provide non-recourse project finance for the 20MW Royalla solar PV project near Canberra.

As revealed by RenewEconomy in May, project developer FRV two Australian banks over eight international and local candidates for the $50 million project, which is only the second utility scale solar farm to be built in Australia, but the first in the National Electricity Market, and the first to get bank finance.

Spanish group Acciona has been appointed EPC contractor and will build the solar farm, which will feature 295W modules from JinkoSolar, and a 1MW inverter from Ingeteam.

The Royalla solar farm will attract a 20 year feed in tariff under an agreement with the ACT government. This follows a “reverse tender”, where FRV bid $186/MWh, beating off a host of rival bids. A second auction announced last month resulted in another two projects being bid at the same or slightly lower prices.

Construction will begin next month, employing 100 people. The project is expected to be completed in the middle of next year.

“The timely achievement of financial close for our project represents an extremely important milestone for our organisation in Australia,” FRV (Australia) Country Manager Andrea Fontana said in a statement.

“The ACT Government’s Solar Auction program has been a great success, demonstrating that such schemes produce very competitive delivery of low emission renewable energy.

“Such schemes, along with the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target, are essential to progressing Australia toward a competitive low emission economy.”

ANZ Global Head of Infrastructure and Utilities David Byrne said: “ANZ is very pleased to support our global clients, including FRV, in Australia’s first project financing of a utility-scale solar farm.

He said ANZ has advised on or financed six renewables transactions in Australia this financial year, representing over 800MW of developments, demonstrating our continued support of clients in the renewables sector.”

Phillip Mak, Head of Energy & Utilities at NAB, also said his bank was “delighted” to be a mandated lead arranger for the the first utility-scale solar project in Australia to be project financed.

FRV is also a co-developer of the 56MW Moree Solar Farm, which last month won $60 million of financing from the Clean Energy Finance Corp.

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