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Developers secure financing for large solar-plus-storage project in Australia

February 12, 2021

Renew Economy:

The UPC/AC Renewables Australia joint venture says it has secured debt finance for a 400MW solar farm in northern NSW, the first stage of what is planned to be a massive 720MW solar project and a 400MWh big battery, among the biggest in the country.

The statement from UPC and AC says that debt financing for the initial 400MW stage of the New England Solar Farm, near the town of Uralla, was secured from Westpac, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and Bank of China – despite the lack of a long term power purchase agreement.

The solar farm, along with an initial 50MW/50MWh of its battery plans, is expected to be producing by mid 2022, meaning it will be delivered in time to help replace the capacity being lost by the closure of the last units of the ageing and increasingly decrepit Liddell coal generator in the Hunter Valley.

“It’s exciting to achieve financial close on a merchant basis for such a large project, which is the first of many such projects we have in Australia,” UPC/AC Renewables Australia CEO Anton Rohner said in the statement.

UPC/AC Renewables Australia is a 50/50 joint venture between UPC Renewables and AC Energy. The two companies are also looking to develop the massive (up to 1,000MW) Robins island and Jim’s Plain wind projects in Tasmania, the 160MW Axedale solar farm with 60MWh of battery in Victoria, and the Baroota pumped hydro project in South Australia. It is also hoping to build the 400MW Stubbo solar farm with a 200MWh battery System in the Central West Orana region of NSW.

UPC says it has developed more than 3,500 MW of operating wind and solar projects with an investment value of over $US5 billion around the world, and has a development pipeline of more than 5,000 MW.

[Giles Parkinson]

More: Biggest solar and battery project in NSW to go ahead after landing debt finance

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