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Allens advises on landmark solar farm portfolio financing

15 March 2017

Allens renewables financing team, led by Partner and Head of Project Finance, Michael Ryan and Senior Associate Lisa Zhou, have advised Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale on the A$230 million debt facility for a portfolio of large-scale solar farm projects.

With a total generation capacity of approximately 198 megawatts (peak), the portfolio includes the Whitsunday Solar Farm, a winning project in the Australian Renewable Energy Agency's federal funding grant program, which has been awarded a 20-year offtake contract with the Queensland Government under the Solar 150 Program.

The two other projects in the portfolio are what will be Victoria's first commercial large-scale solar farm project, the Gannawarra Solar Farm, and the Hamilton Solar Farm in Queensland.

Ultimately sponsored by Wircon GmbH, Wircon Australia HoldCo Gmbh and Edify Energy, the deal represents one of the most significant large-scale solar farm development transactions in the Australian market which, until recent years, has had a greater focus on wind energy project financing.

The solar farm portfolio that is financed is also distinguished by a combination of long term offtake contracts and short-term or merchant-based revenues.

The unique features of the portfolio assisted the sponsors to secure senior debt facilities of 15 and 18 years, which are significantly longer than senior debt tenors that are traditionally available in the Australian bank debt market for renewables projects.

'We are delighted to have assisted the senior financiers to achieve financial close on such a significant portfolio of solar farm developments,' Michael said.

'For Allens, the deal underscores our market-leading expertise in the renewables sector, which has seen us play a significant role for financiers and sponsors on some of the largest renewables projects in Australia.

'We congratulate the financiers and the sponsors on their leadership in sustainability and renewable energy, and look forward to watching the projects contribute to Australia's growing renewables landscape,' he said.

Allens legal team

Banking and Finance: Michael Ryan (Lead Partner and Head of Project Finance), Lisa Zhou (Senior Associate), Eve Lonie (Lawyer), Emily Rothfield (Lawyer)
Project Documents and Due Diligence: Kate Axup (Partner), Nicholas Ng (Partner), Michael Graves (Partner), Chris Schulz (Partner), Melinda Inserra (Senior Associate), Julieane Bull (Senior Associate), Lucy Woodruff (Senior Associate)

Ends

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Notes for editors.

Allens is a commercial law firm working throughout Australia and Asia. Through its integrated alliance with Linklaters it provides clients access to 39 offices in 28 countries around the world.