Renewable energy

Large-Scale Solar

CEFC backs large-scale solar in Australia

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has a strong track record in the financing of large-scale solar in Australia, both through direct and indirect financing. CEFC finance is supporting the development of about a third of the total 300MW of large-scale solar currently installed or under construction in Australia, including: 

  • Up to $20 million in cornerstone debt finance for the development of the 20MW 90-hectare Barcaldine Solar Farm in Central Queensland, which is expected to generate enough power to satisfy the needs of around 5,300 homes.

  • Up to $15 million in finance towards Australia’s largest solar and battery storage project to date, for 10.6MW and 6MW of battery storage at the DeGrussa Mine in WA.

  • A 56MW single-axis tracking solar farm near Moree, NSW which will provide around 95,000 tonnes of abatement per annum

  • A major expansion of Australian company Epuron’s Northern Territory Uterne solar power station

  • The CEFC also played a leading role in helping South Australian-based Sundrop Farms Pty Ltd secure capital for its approximately $150 million and was a cornerstone investor to the inaugural NAB Climate Bond, which contributed finance to the Royalla solar farm in the ACT

CEFC Large-Scale Solar Program

In September 2015 the CEFC launched a $250 million program to boost the construction of large-scale solar developments in Australia. When fully deployed, the CEFC program will represent the largest lending commitment to the large-scale solar sector in Australia to date. The program is designed to fill a funding gap and encourage greater participation by banks and other institutions in the large-scale solar sector in Australia.

In November 2015, the CEFC said it had received strong market interest from more than 40 domestic and international project developers pursuing investment opportunities through the program. The total capacity of the proposed projects is more than 2,000MW, representing a 10-fold increase in Australia’s large-scale solar capacity if all the projects proceed to development. Read the media release.

Projects range in size from 15MW to 200MW. By state, the proposed projects submitted for consideration include Queensland (the largest number of projects, for a combined 980MW); New South Wales (620MW);  South Australia (220MW); Western Australia (100MW) and Victoria (135MW).

The CEFC is continuing to consider proposals for large-scale solar developments.

Key elements of the program include:

  • $250 million debt program to finance large-scale solar PV projects
  • Loans of at least $15 million for projects of 10MW or more
  • Available for merchant and contracted projects
  • Providing fixed-rate longer-dated senior debt
  • CEFC will seek to catalyse other sources of finance through co-investment.

Working with other parties

The CEFC is targeting support for projects within other large-scale renewable energy programs, including:


Important information for project sponsors

If you are interested in seeking finance for a large-scale solar project:

You will need to register separately with other programs where you are seeking finance, according to the requirements of those programs. Applicants will need to refer to other programs’ websites for critical dates and requirements in respect of those programs.

FAQs for project sponsors

1. How does the CEFC Large-Scale Solar financing program relate to ARENA's Large-Scale Solar PV competitive round?

The CEFC Large-Scale Solar debt program complements ARENA’s Large-Scale Solar PV Competitive Round grant program. The ARENA round and the CEFC program will run in parallel, with separate decisions being made by each body.

For sponsors applying to both organisations, ARENA and the CEFC will coordinate during each stage of the application process to minimise sponsors’ transaction time and costs wherever possible.

 

2. How does the CEFC Large-Scale Solar financing program relate to other large-scale renewable energy development programs?

Other organisations are offering financial support for large-scale solar projects, including the Australian Capital Territory’s 50MW Next Generation Solar initiative, and the Queensland Government’s 40MW solar auction and 150MW program for renewable energy projects through Ergon Energy.

Any sponsor making an application under these or other solar support programs can also apply for investment under the CEFC Large-Scale Solar financing program.

 

3. I have a large-scale solar project. How do I apply for a CEFC loan?

Please send an email with your contact information to solar@cleanenergyfinancecorp.com.au

For projects that are seeking a CEFC loan in parallel with grant funding from ARENA:

We will email you a Confidentiality Deed and a Request for Information (RFI) document. The RFI will ask you for a summary of your project, details of the parties, project milestones, and some basic financial information about the project.

Please return your completed documents as soon as possible and no later than 30 September to support your application under ARENA’s Large-Scale Solar PV Competitive Round.

For projects that are not seeking grant funding from ARENA:

The CEFC will work flexibly with you to design a timetable that suits your project.

 

4. How will my application be assessed?

The CEFC’s investment approval process is designed to ensure that projects are thoroughly assessed for commercial viability.

For projects that are seeking grant funding from ARENA in parallel with a CEFC loan:

After you have sent us your Confidentiality Deed and Request for Information documents, we will contact you to discuss the next steps.

Expressions of Interest for Application Stage 1 of ARENA’s Large-Scale Solar PV Competitive Round are expected to be due in November. Completed CEFC documents should be returned as soon as possible and no later than 30 September to support your application under ARENA’s program.


You will need to register separately with other programs where you are seeking finance, according to the requirements of those programs. Applicants will need to refer to other programs’ websites for critical dates and requirements in respect of those programs.


Indicative timeline for solar project sponsors who are seeking ARENA grant funding in parallel with a CEFC loan

Date ARENA CEFC
9 September 2015 Expressions of Interest (EOI) opens for large-scale solar competitive round CEFC Large-Scale Solar program opens. Project sponsors to register interest via solar@cleanenergyfinancecorp.com.au
30 September 2015   Registered project sponsors to execute Confidentiality Deed and submit completed CEFC Request for Information form
13 October 2015 ARENA EOI registration cut-off date  
2 November 2015   Registered projects undergo first stage CEFC screening
2 November 2015 EOI Due Date for submission to ARENA CEFC evaluates proposals and may issue letters of support to registered projects that pass first stage screening
16 December 2015 ARENA due diligence on submitted EOIs CEFC contributes to ARENA due diligence
16 December 2015 ARENA notifies applicants progressing to Full Application  
January to June 2016 ARENA undertakes further due diligence CEFC loan facility agreement negotiations with applicants who have progressed to ARENA Full Application stage
June 2016 ARENA Full Application due date CEFC issues letters of commitment to successful projects with funding subject to internal approvals and relevant conditions precedent, including ARENA grant funding
September 2016 ARENA offers to negotiate Funding Agreements  
December 2016   Execution of CEFC loan documentation for successful projects

 

Effective 9 September, 2015

 

For projects that are not seeking grant funding from ARENA:

All investment proposals are assessed by the CEFC in accordance with our Investment Policies.

The CEFC will keep project sponsors up-to-date with the progress of our internal evaluation process. Sponsors whose projects satisfy the CEFC’s investment criteria will be advised as soon as possible.

 

5. How will interactions between project sponsors and the CEFC be managed?

Most interaction will be by email, with regular meetings with CEFC staff likely as applications progress.

 

 

7. Is the Large-Scale Solar financing program the CEFC’s only channel for investing in solar?

No. The CEFC has other facilities for solar energy that are suited to small-scale projects and for solar technologies other than PV.

If your project proposal does not fit the criteria of the CEFC Large-Scale Solar financing program, we will consider whether it fits within our Investment Mandate and general financing guidelines.

 

8. I am developing a community solar project. Can I participate in the CEFC Large-Scale Solar financing program?

The CEFC Large-Scale Solar financing program is designed for projects of 10MW capacity or more. Smaller projects may be eligible for CEFC co-financing through our programs with Origin Energy, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, SunEdison or Firstmac. Please contact one of our program partners or contact us via info@cleanenergyfinancecorp.com.au to discuss your project.

 

9. My company is a large energy user and I’m considering ways to reduce costs. Can I apply for a CEFC loan?

The CEFC Large-Scale Solar financing program is designed to finance solar PV installations of 10MW or more. If you are considering a large-scale solar installation, please email us at solar@cleanenergyfinancecorp.com.au so we can discuss whether your project is eligible for a CEFC loan.

Smaller projects may be eligible for CEFC co-financing through our programs with Origin Energy, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, SunEdison or Firstmac. Please contact one of our program partners or contact us via info@cleanenergyfinancecorp.com.au to discuss your project.

 

10. Will the CEFC Large-Scale Solar financing program replace other sources of finance for large-scale solar?

No. The CEFC Large-Scale Solar financing program is designed to complement other sources of finance. It will offer fixed-rate longer-dated senior debt compared with shorter tenor typically offered by banks, and will accommodate co-lending with other financiers. In addition, a CEFC loan may bridge the financing gap before a power purchase agreement is concluded, a period when finance is typically difficult to secure.

The CEFC encourages sponsors to seek finance from banks and other sources to meet the debt and equity requirements of their projects.

 

11. Will the CEFC continue to fund other renewable energy technologies?

Yes. The CEFC invests in a wide range of renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies. The CEFC welcomes project proposals in addition to the Large-Scale Solar financing program. Please contact us via info@cleanenergyfinancecorp.com.au.

 

12. Where can I get more information about the CEFC Large-Scale Solar financing program?

For all enquiries about the CEFC Large-Scale Solar financing program, or to request a meeting with the CEFC Large-Scale Solar team, please email solar@cleanenergyfinancecorp.com.au.

 

CEFC and ARENA

The CEFC funds complement a $100 million commitment to large-scale solar from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). The ARENA funding Round aims to support the development of a further 200MW of large scale solar capacity, with successful ARENA grant recipients having the opportunity to secure CEFC long-term debt finance to progress their projects.

Indicative timeline for solar project sponsors who are seeking ARENA grant funding in parallel with a CEFC loan
Date ARENA CEFC
9 September 2015 Expressions of Interest (EOI) opens for large-scale solar competitive round CEFC Large-Scale Solar program opens. Project sponsors to register interest via solar@cleanenergyfinancecorp.com.au
30 September 2015   Registered project sponsors to execute Confidentiality Deed and submit completed CEFC Request for Information form
13 October 2015  ARENA EOI registration cut-off date  
2 November 2015   Registered projects undergo first stage CEFC screening
2 November 2015 EOI Due Date for submission to ARENA CEFC evaluates proposals and may issue letters of support to registered projects that pass first stage screening
16 December 2015 ARENA due diligence on submitted EOIs CEFC contributes to ARENA due diligence
16 December 2015 ARENA notifies applicants progressing to Full Application  
January to June 2016 ARENA undertakes further due diligence CEFC loan facility agreement negotiations with applicants who have progressed to ARENA Full Application stage
June 2016 ARENA Full Application due date CEFC issues letters of commitment to successful projects with funding subject to internal approvals and relevant conditions precedent, including ARENA grant funding
September 2016 ARENA offers to negotiate Funding Agreements  
December 2016   Execution of CEFC loan documentation for successful projects

 

Effective 9 September, 2015

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