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ARENA invests in solar power project

ARENA invests in solar power project


Three firms have advised on the funding of a new solar farm.

Firms: Herbert Smith Freehills (Australian Renewable Energy Agency); King & Wood Mallesons (Clean Energy Finance Corporation); Mills Oakley (Elecnor)

Deal: Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) funded the Barcaldine Remote Community Solar Farm.

Value: $22.8 million

Area: Energy and resources

Key players: The Herbert Smith Freehills team was led by partner Gerard Pike (pictured), who was supported by senior associate Cameron Watson and solicitors Rachael Le Tessier and Matthew Selth.

The Mills Oakley team was led by partner Luke Westmore and included senior associates Nicole Tumiati, Alex Chernishev, associate Jacqui Murphy and lawyers Louis Cosentino, Jessica Stojkovski and Harrison Wall.

Deal significance:

The Barcaldine Remote Community Solar Farm is a 25MW DC solar PV facility to be located in central west Queensland.

According to a release by HSF, the solar farm will be a first for Australia and use a single axis tracking system to provide merchant solar power in a fringe-of-grid location. Fringe-of-grid areas in regional Australia often experience challenges with reliability and outages because of network constraints and limited infrastructure.

The project will be a test case and aim to show how solar PV in regional areas can improve network efficiency and result in a more reliable power supply overall.

The A$69 million project is 100 per cent owned by the Australian subsidiary of leading Spanish renewables company Elecnor S.A., which is contributing equity. The solar farm is also supported by A$20 million in debt financing from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, in addition to ARENA’s funding of A$22.8 million.

“The Barcaldine Remote Community Solar Farm is the only large scale merchant solar farm to be financed in Australia in 2015,” said Mr Pike.

“We were very pleased to advise ARENA and in the process support the growth of innovative renewable energy technologies in Australia.

“Given the reliability and efficiency benefits large scale solar farms can provide, we foresee enormous growth in this area.”

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