255 MW solar project in Australia achieves financial close

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255 MW solar project in Australia achieves financial close

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Maoneng Australia has announced that it has achieved financial close for the 255 MWp Sunraysia Solar Farm, located in New South Wales, south-east Australia.

This announcement comes days after John Laing Group announced that it is investing in the project, concluding an equity sale process that Maoneng launched in January this year. John Laing is investing AUD108.6 million (US$77.7 million) for a 90.1% shareholding in the solar farm.

In addition to this equity investment, the project has secured debt financing from Nord L/B, ING, Mizuho, Bank of China and National Australia Bank (NAB). No financial details have been disclosed.

Norton Rose Fulbright has advised Maoneng on all aspects of the development, construction and debt financing of the project, as well as the equity sale. The latter represents John Laing's first solar investment in Australia.

Sunraysia is scheduled to enter construction later this year and will be fully operational in 2019. It will be the largest solar farm to have commenced construction in Australia this year and will be one of the largest solar farms in the world upon completion.

Decmil has been appointed as awarded the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract for the solar farm and will also undertake operations and maintenance after construction is completed. Maoneng will act as both the construction manager during the construction period and the asset manager during operations.

The project has secured two Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) under which University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney and AGL Energy will purchase its output for 15 years

Both PPAs are significant - for UNSW, Sunraysia ensures that the institution will be the first university globally to achieve carbon neutrality through a corporate PPA. 

AGL's PPA forms part of the company's plan to replace the energy produced by the 2,000 MW Liddell power station, which is to be retired in 2022. The plan also includes the procurement of 500 MW wind projects and the construction of a 250 MW gas-fired power plant.

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