Two major solar projects slated for construction in northern Queensland have reached financial close this week, locking in development of another 200MW (AC) of large-scale solar generation near the state’s former coal hub of Collinsville.
Edify Energy said on Friday that its 150MW Daydream – announced on Thursday – and now the 50MW (AC) Hayman solar farms in Queensland were set to be fully operational in 2018 after it secured “one of the largest solar portfolio financings to date in the Australian market,” with BlackRock Real Assets.
The investment, which gives BlackRock a 90 per cent interest in the 2ooMW solar portfolio, marks the international investment company’s first foray into renewables, through a fund focused on investing in wind and solar globally.
Edify will retain 10 per cent of the equity interest and provide the projects with construction and long-term asset management services.
The two projects also have a combined $90 million in financial backing from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, as part of a syndicated debt facility involving the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and French investment bank Natixis.
This week Edify inked a power purchase agreement with Origin Energy, the gen-tailer agreeing to buy the Daydream solar farm’s output and RECs until 2030. Hayman, however, will operate as a merchant plant.
For Edify, the projects’ financial close brings its portfolio to five solar farms – including its 57.5MW Whitsunday Solar Farm and 57.5MW Hamilton Solar Farm, both already under construction in Queensland – totalling a combined 440MW of renewable energy capacity that will be connected to the national grid.
The CEFC says the success of the two new projects confirms that the former coal mining hub, in and around Collinsville – Daydream and Hayman are to the north – has become the Sunshine State’s “solar hot spot.”
Another 42MW solar farm is being developed by RATCH-Australia, at the site of the disused Collinsville coal-fired power station. All five projects have secured finance from the CEFC.
Construction of both new Edify projects is expected to start immediately, with ASX listed engineering firm RCR Tomlinson winning the contracts for the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the solar farms.
Once commissioned RCR will provide O&M services for both Solar Farms for an initial period of 10 years, with an option for a further five-year term.
Federal energy and environment minister Josh Frydenberg said the new Daydream and Hayman solar farms near Collinsville would help deliver up to 200MW of clean energy in the Great Barrier Reef catchment area, “contributing to the long-term health of the Reef by reducing local reliance on coal and diesel power generation.”