Lyon Solar companies in liquidation, Deloitte looks for buyers for projects

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Three Lyon companies placed in liquidation by Deloitte, just days after group announced solar and storage deal with Chinese power company.

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Three companies within the solar and storage hopeful Lyon Group have been placed in liquidation, and their ambitious but as yet undeveloped project assets will be sold by Deloitte.

The companies in liquidation, according to a statement to creditors last week, and posted on the corporate regulator’s website, are Lyon Infrastructure Investments 1 Pty Ltd, Lyon Solar Pty Ltd, and Lyon Battery Storage Pty Ltd. The liquidators are Richard Hughes and David Orr from Deloitte.

The liquidation followed the appointment of administrators to the three companies earlier this year, and came after the failure of the Lyon companies to meet the terms of the deed of company arrangements (DOCA) approved by creditors in September.

“The Companies’ directors failed to execute the DOCAs within the required timeframe,” Orr said in the statement dated October 18.

“Accordingly, the Companies are now in Liquidation. Richard Hughes and I are now the liquidators of the Companies.”

Orr said the liquidators would now proceed with the sale of the companies’ projects. “We will continue to liase with interested parties of the projects, with the aim to execute a sale agreement(s) in the coming months.”

Deloitte called for expressions of interest for the assets in May, soon after its appointment as administrators.

The assets put up for sale then included the project that was considered most advanced, the 55MW Cape York solar farm and a 20MW/80MWh battery storage installation to be located near Cooktown, which recently made a short-list of 10 project that could be supported by the Queensland government.

Two other projects listed for sale in the Deloitte EOI document were Nowingi, a 253MW solar project with 80MW/320MWh of battery storage in Victoria, and Sturt, formerly known as Riverland in South Australia, another 253MW solar project with a 100MW/400MWh battery storage proposal.

Lyon has been fighting legal and court battles with at least two aggrieved parties – the US solar module supplier and project developer First Solar, and UK hedge fund manager Magnetar, which was introduced with some fanfare in 2017 as a shareholder and financial backer to Lyon’s ambitious roll out of projects.

Lyon had insisted that the projects themselves were not affected by the legal battles, and even when Deloitte was appointed voluntary administrator in May, to three entities (see notice above) three months after Magnetar had sought to wind up certain units, and 18 months after First Solar had sought to do the same.

“The appointment of the voluntary administrators allows a pathway for development of Lyon’s tranche 1 fully integrated large dispatchable solar peaker projects to proceed to financial close,” it said in a statement at the time.

Lyon has also struck partnership deals with Japanese energy giant JERA and US-based battery supplier Fluence, with a view to advancing these and other projects such as the Kingfisher solar and storage project mooted for Roxby Downs, near the site of BHP’s huge Olympic Dam mining operations.

 Last week, Lyon said it had inked a “deal” with Chinese power generation company, China Huadian Corporation, ostensibly co-develop and invest in power generation with integrated battery energy storage systems (BESS) in China, Australia and other Asian markets.

It said the agreement brought together previously announced “alliance” with Japan’s Jera to co-develop Lyon’s renewables plans – including a solar and storage project near Cooktown in north Queensland, and other projects in Victoria (Nowingi) and South Australia (Riverland).

RenewEconomy sought a statement from Lyon but did not receive a reply.

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