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Big banks back NSW’s Finley Solar Farm

Big banks back NSW’s Finley Solar Farm

Herbert Smith Freehills has advised Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited and Westpac Banking Corporation on the project financing of Finley Solar Farm.

Firm: Herbert Smith Freehills (Australia and New Zealand Banking Group; Westpac Banking Corporation), White & Case (ESCO Pacific; Finley project entities), Ashurst (John Laing)

Deal: Herbert Smith Freehills has advised Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac on their project financing of southern NSW’ Finley Solar Farm.

Value: Undisclosed

Area: Corporate, Energy

Key players: Leading the Herbert Smith Freehills team were Elizabeth Charlesworth and Alison Dodd. Support was provided by senior associates Emma Zarb and David Ong, solicitors Erin MacMullin, Arnica Mullins, Hiroko Ito and graduates Nicholas Gerovasilis and Phoebe Winch.

Deal significance: The Finley Solar Farm, located just west of Finley in southern NSW, is being developed by ESCO Pacific.

The project will see approximately 500,000 solar panels producing enough electricity to power around 59,000 homes, according to a statement from Herbert Smith Freehills.

The project was sold to John Laing, with the sale completing at the same time as debt financial close.

ESCO Pacific will be involved in the project in the long-term, through provision of construction management and asset management services.

The Finley Solar Farm has signed a seven-year corporate power purchase agreement with BlueScope Steel for two-thirds of the electricity and green benefits the farm will generate.

A joint venture between Signal Energy Australia and Canadian Solar Construction (Australia) has been contracted for the project’s engineering, procurement and construction.

Herbert Smith Freehills’ partner Elizabeth Charlesworth said “it is great to see Finley solar farm, a large NSW solar project backed by a corporate PPA, reach financial close and move fully into the construction phase.”

She gave her congratulations to the ESCO Pacific and John Laing teams for reaching the milestone, and said “we have really enjoyed being involved in this project and working with the lenders to achieve financial close.”

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