Sunraysia Solar Farm 255MWp Financial Close
New South Wales – Maoneng Australia (Maoneng), one of Australia’s leading solar PV developers and owner of renewable energy assets has reached Financial Close for the 255MWp Sunraysia Solar Farm.
The 255MWp Sunraysia Solar Farm 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 construction completion. The financial close of the project has been underpinned by the coordinated effort of several hundred professionals across various industries.
The asset is underpinned by two world class Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) under which UNSW Sydney and AGL Energy (AGL) purchase energy over 15 years.
Maoneng entered into a long-term equity partnership with John Laing for the investment and development of the Sunraysia Solar Farm. In addition, the project has secured debt financing from Nord L/B, ING, Mizuho, Bank of China and National Australia Bank (NAB).
Decmil has been appointed as the head contractor for the project under an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contract and will also undertake the project’s operations and maintenance when the solar farm is in operation.
Maoneng will act as both the construction manager during the construction period and the asset manager during operations.
Acknowledgement of stakeholders
“We would like to acknowledge the contributions from all stakeholders who participated in the development of the project including: town planners, engineers, construction contractors, legal advisers, specialist advisers, financiers and investors, traditional and current land custodians, government agencies, retailers and educational institutions,” said Morris Zhou, CEO and Chairman of Maoneng Group.
At the peak of construction, up to 400 people will be working and living in Balranald, creating significant local economic growth and opportunities to engage with the local community with respect to the renewable energy sector.
“We are very pleased to secure our first solar investment in Australia, further enhancing our renewable energy portfolio in the APAC region. After carefully evaluating a number of solar opportunities in the market over the last 2 years, we have invested in Sunraysia Solar Farm, an asset that supports our model to create value through the successful delivery of greenfield infrastructure,” said Justin Bailey, John Laing, Regional Managing Director – Asia Pacific.
“The investment from John Laing is a testament to the quality of the assets that Maoneng develop. We are honoured to have been entrusted by John Laing to deliver the project and operate the solar farm over the long term. John Laing shares in Maoneng’s vision in creating sustainable social infrastructure that helps drive communities towards a progressive future,” said Qiao Nan Han, Group Vice President of Maoneng.
“The bank group represents the diversity of lenders from various part of the world, who have gathered here in Australia to finance this landmark project,” says Qiao Nan Han. “We are grateful for the support of Nord L/B and Bank of China who have previously supported our Mugga Lane Solar Park development and we welcome our new financing partners ING, Mizuho and NAB.”
Frank Schrader, Regional CEO Asia Pacific of NORD/LB said, “We are extremely thrilled to be one of the key financing parties for Sunraysia Solar Farm, and have the pleasure to work with Maoneng again and John Laing Group for the first time in Asia. This signifies a landmark deal in NSW, Australia for Nord/LB, adding to our portfolio of 14GW of green energies financed worldwide. We continue to showcase our execution capabilities in Australia as one of the leading banks in the global renewables space. We look forward to extending our pipeline in Australia and provide customized solutions to meet our client’s financing needs.”
Jules Kaufling, Senior Director Project Finance at Mizuho said, "Mizuho is very excited to be supporting Maoneng and John Laing's development and investment activities in the renewable energy space in Australia. As one of the largest solar farms in the country underpinned by strong offtake arrangements, Sunraysia is a fantastic opportunity for all parties involved, and we are proud to have been able to help the project reach this key milestone. Mizuho has successfully financed a number of important green energy assets in the recent past and Sunraysia is a further testament to Mizuho's established presence in the sector."
“Decmil is looking forward to partnering with Maoneng on the Sunraysia project. Both organisations bring together complimentary skills to successfully deliver this project to the Australian renewable energy market. Decmil has for over 40 years track successfully delivered major regional infrastructure and is operationally ready to deliver this project,” said Scott Criddle, Decmil Group, Managing Director and Group CEO.
"This would be Decmil’s biggest EPC contract in its renewables portfolio. Decmil beat out its tier one competitors due to their competitive pricing, strong business development acumen and extensive engineering and construction experience in delivering projects in remote regions of Australia. Their project execution team was engaged throughout the whole tender process and we have the utmost confidence in Decmil delivering what will be the largest operating solar farm in the country,” said Michael Tran – Maoneng Operations Manager.
“They have been working with us for almost a year, in front end engineering and design, preparatory and planning work, including obtaining the approval for a construction camp to cater for the large workforce that is required to build this solar farm. We are looking forward to a smooth and well-planned construction phase as we continue to have the support from our key suppliers including Jinko, Schneider and NEXTracker,” said Qiao Nan Han.
“Schneider Electric is excited to be a key supplier for the Sunraysia Solar Project. We have worked collaboratively with Maoneng from the beginning of 2017, providing ongoing technical support to complete the Generator Performance Standards submission. We look forward to supplying from Schneider owned factories all the Power Conversion Units for this project; consisting of Inverters, Transformers and Ring Main Units. We will also be responsible for providing a full Control and Monitoring system to meet the detailed needs of this complex project. We are looking forward to the delivery of another successful project with Maoneng,” said Steven Briggs, Director Solar Power Plants – Schneider Electric.
“The Sunraysia Solar Farm is a very exciting development for TransGrid – over the last 18 months TransGrid has connected over 1GW of renewable energy to the NEM, and we have contracts in place to connect at least that much again this financial year,” said Richard Lowe, TransGrid, Executive Manager Business Growth. “This connection project specifically demonstrates the significant benefits TransGrid can deliver for renewable energy project developers, through a comprehensive build, own, operate and maintain solution for connection services for a 30 year term.”
“Sunraysia Solar Farm will be connecting into TransGrid’s 220kV Substation where substation, Transmission and network augmentation work will be conducted by TransGrid through a Build Own Operate and Maintain (BOOM) model,” said Qiao Nan Han.
“The 15-year solar supply agreement with UNSW is the first of its kind in Australia – bringing together a retailer, developer and corporate. We are honoured to allow UNSW to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality on energy use by 2020 and look forward to our long-term partnership,” said Kevin Chen, Director of Project Finance and M&A of Maoneng.
“This milestone brings UNSW Sydney a major step towards receiving emissions free electricity as part of this landmark initiative,” said Professor Ian Jacobs, President and Vice-Chancellor at UNSW Sydney. “The Solar PPA is crucial to the University realising its goal of carbon neutrality on energy use by 2020.”
“AGL’s offtake with Sunraysia Solar Farm forms part of AGL’s NSW Generation Plan and plays an important role in AGL’s transition towards cleaner and more affordable energy,” said Qiao Nan Han. “Energy allocated to AGL from Sunraysia Solar Farm represents Maoneng’s first contribution towards our long-term relationship with AGL.”
“We would like to thank the lawyers from Norton Rose Fulbright Australia and engineers from Jacobs who have worked with us on this project since conceptualisation. We would also like to thank King & Wood Mallesons (lender's counsel), EY (accounting and tax), Willis Towers Watson (insurance due diligence) and Aon (insurance provider) who contributed to bringing the project to a successful financial close.” said Qiao Nan Han.
“We are pleased to have worked closely with Maoneng since project conception, and advising them through the project lifecycle to deliver another significant renewable energy project, since advising Maoneng with their first major investment in Australia – the 13MW Mugga Lane Solar Park in the ACT. The Sunraysia Solar Farm is another key project contributing to the changing energy mix in the region, playing an important role towards the transition to cleaner and more affordable energy,” said Raymond Lou, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright.
“It has been a pleasure to support Maoneng’s financiers and Maoneng in achieving close of the project financing of this ground-breaking combination of offtake arrangements,” said Scott Gardiner, Partner, King & Wood Mallesons.
For further information please contact:
Qiao Nan Han
Vice President – Maoneng Group
M. +61 428 275 150