Lightsource BP lands finance for two new solar projects in Australia

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Lightsource BP, the solar joint venture controlled by one of the world’s biggest oil companies, says it has secured a $330 million financing package that means construction of two new solar farms in NSW and Queensland can go ahead.

One day after announcing the biggest ever purchase of a solar farm portfolio – a 9GW project pipeline in the US – Lightsource BP said the 90MW West Wyalong solar farm in NSW and the 176MW Woolooga solar farm in Queensland would begin construction and be complete mid next year.

The financing package was secured from Australia’s Westpac and international lenders EDC, ING, and Intesa Sanpaolo.

“Solar will play a significant role in Australia’s energy transition and Westpac is looking forward to working with Lightsource bp in the pursuit of that goal,” said Anthony Miller, CEO of Westpac Institutional Bank.

Lightsource BP has recently completed the 200MW Wellington solar farm in NSW and has plans to add another 400MW to that solar hub at the Wellington North project.

Country manager Adam Pegg said the two new projects meant Lightsource BP was now a leader in the Australian solar market, and the deal comes as other major solar players seek buyers for their Australian assets.

“Although COVID-19 has disrupted the energy landscape, we are proud to be able to start construction and complete the financing of two large solar projects on a subsidy-free basis, demonstrating the resilience of solar as a sustainable solution to meeting the rising global energy demands,” Pegg said.

West Wyalong has a contract with Snowy Hydro, which will in turn supply green electricity to its network of retail outlets in NSW. It is not known if Woolooga has an off-take agreement in place.

Together, the two solar farms will produce approximately 673GWh of renewable electricity a year, enough to power nearly 100,000 Australian homes and cut carbon emissions by 540,000MT tonnes,  or the equivalent of taking around 225,000 fuel-burning cars off the road. 

“ING is globally committed to the Paris Climate Agreement and is using its lending power to help clients combat climate change and support a lower carbon future for Australia,”  the head of ING wholesale banking operations in Australia, Charles Ho, said in a statement.

Construction contracts have been awarded to PCL on both projects, and work has already commenced under an early works agreement.

See also our new resource: Large Scale Solar Farm Map of Australia

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