Columboola Solar Farm completes project financing
Herbert Smith Freehills has advised on the project financing of Columboola Solar Farm.
Firms: Herbert Smith Freehills advised the financiers including Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (which also acted as agent and security trustee), DBS Bank and Societe Generale.
Value: $199 million.
Deal: Herbert Smith Freehills has advised the financiers on the $199 million project financing for Hana Financial Investment’s first renewable energy investment in Australia – the 162-megawatt Columboola Solar Farm in Queensland.
Area: Energy and resources.
Key Players: The Herbert Smith Freehills cross-practice team acting for the financiers was led by partner Gerard Pike with support from partner Toby Anderson, senior associate Daniel Ficyk and solicitors Beryl Yan, Will Kennedy and Amelia Murphy.
Deal Significance: South Korean financial giant Hana Financial Investment says it has sealed the finance for the 162-megawatt Columboola Solar Farm in Queensland.
The solar farm will be constructed near Miles in Queensland’s Western Downs and will power the equivalent of 100,000 homes, or approximately 6 per cent of all homes in the state. CS Energy, a Queensland government-owned energy business, will buy 100 per cent of the output of the solar farm and onsell it to its large commercial and industrial retail customers, including Griffith University, CQUniversity and Queensland University of Technology.
“After a difficult period in the Queensland large-scale solar market since the last round of ARENA and CEFC-funded projects it is very satisfying to see this large solar project achieve financial close. We are proud to have assisted ANZ, DBS and Societe Generale to fund Columboola and we hope it marks the start of the next generation of high-technology large-scale solar projects in Queensland with quality offtake agreements which are required to underpin project financings of this type in the current market,” Mr Pike said.
“We also congratulate Hana on achieving this milestone on their first renewable project in Australia.”
Hana will invest $120 million of its own equity in the project, with the balance of $200 million in debt coming from ANZ, Singaporean banking giant DBS, and French investment bank and services company Societe Generale.
Preliminary construction work began in June and an EPC contract was signed with Sterling & Wilson and a notice to proceed issued in September, with completion of construction and full operation expected for January 2022.