Renewable energy fund Solar Bay has acquired the rights to the 500kW solar system installed on the roof of Sydney’s International Convention Centre, as part of what it says will be a $350 million program to buy back commercial and industrial solar across the Asia Pacific region.
Solar Bay said on Thursday that it was looking to use the $350 million investment vehicle, backed by a consortium of family offices, to buy out existing solar systems from large businesses.
The fund’s investment director, Andrew Archibald, said commercial rooftop solar systems had gained significant traction lately, with power purchase agreements (PPA’s) becoming an increasingly popular way to fund and procure on-site renewable energy.
Archibald said the “Family Office” impact investment capital meant Solar Bay could offer attractive purchase prices for existing PV systems, as well as long-term energy costs below market prices to a range of businesses including ASX listed companies.
“The PPA will provide businesses with long term price certainty at rates that are often up to 20-40% below their current cost of power from the grid,” said James Doyle, another of Solar Bay’s investment directors.
The first purchase, the ICC array, was previously held by the Sydney Renewable Power Company Limited (SRPCL) and was one of the first community-funded PV projects in Australia, generating enough energy to power the equivalent of 100 homes.
SRPCL’s Andy Cavanagh said it was the right time to pass the baton on the iconic array to Solar Bay, a company whose core business is in the acquisition, development and management of these assets.
“We started SRPCL because at the time we were frustrated at the lack of support and action for renewable energy development,” he said.
“Volunteers created this project and we are proud of what we have achieved. …We are glad to see the rapid development of dedicated businesses like Solar Bay, who are able to do more and go further than volunteer organisations such as ourselves.”
Solar Bay plan for the Family Office scheme is to deploy $100 million of the investment fund over the coming six months, and the remainder over a further two-and-a-half-year period.
Last March, the company inked a deal with shopping centre landlord Real Asset Management to lease the rooftops of nine of its suburban malls in New South Wales and Queensland and fit them out with solar PV.
The deal, which was negotiated for Solar Bay by Colliers International, was to have installed an undisclosed amount of solar on Keppel Bay Plaza, Ballina Central, Yeronga Village, Coles Tanilba Bay, Mowbray Marketplace, Springfield Fair, The Hub Westlake, Miami Day Hospital, North Lakes and Coomera Square.
Solar Bay said those solar systems would provide – on average – more than 40 per cent of each shopping centre’s total power consumption and would be designed to add further clean energy technologies, like electric vehicle charging stations.
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