Wirsol Energy Pty Ltd. Announces construction of a further 199MWp of Solar Projects in Australia

  • Wemen Solar Farm, Victoria – 110MWp DC
  • Clermont Solar Farm, Queensland – 89MWp DC

Wirsol Energy Pty Ltd (WIRSOL), today announces that it has reached financial close for the construction of the Wemen Solar Farm in Victoria and the Clermont Solar Farm in Queensland.  The projects are being financed on a fully merchant basis with a long-term debt facility from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and equity provided from WIRSOL’s parent WIRCON, headquartered in Germany.  Both projects have been contracted to RCR Tomlinson for the EPC buildout and longer-term O&M contracts, with asset management contracted to CWP Renewables.  The financial adviser in closing the debt was Elgar Middleton LLP, legal advice for the WIRSOL group via Norton Rose Fulbright and technical advice via RINA Consulting.  Wemen Solar Farm was acquired from Overland Sun Farming in November 2017 and Clermont Solar Park was acquired from Epuron just prior to financial close.

Wemen Solar Farm and Clermont Solar Farm represent an overall investment of circa AU$375m and follows on from the previous three projects WIRSOL announced in March 2017 of a similar fiscal investment of circa AU$380m.  The Wemen and Clermont projects will commence construction in Januaryy 2018 and are scheduled for connection to grid during Q3 2018. These two projects, combined with the three WIRSOL projects currently under construction – the Whitsunday, Hamilton and Gannawarra Solar Farms – position WIRSOL Energy Pty Ltd as the leader in solar power within Australia. The CEFC has provided debt finance for the five WIRSOL projects, reflecting its commitment to accelerate the development of large-scale solar in Australia.

Mark Hogan, Managing Director of WIRSOL commented: “I am delighted that WIRSOL is now firmly positioned as the leading fully integrated investor / owner / developer of solar farms in Australia.  Sustainable Energy Research Analytics (SERA) recently provided an insight into the solar market which indicates that we have circa 20% market share. Whilst we do not drive ourselves on market share, as we have an internal goal of deploying 1GW of solar by 2020, it is nevertheless encouraging that we are making such traction in relatively short timelines.  I am delighted with the team that we have built at our offices in Manly, Sydney, which has significantly grown, doubling its Australian workforce in 2017. We have exceptional legal, financial and technical partners, and the CEFC along with Nord LB, CBA and ARENA, have all been hugely supportive of our business.  We plan on continuing our success with the next five large-scale solar projects totalling 470MWp that are in development with our joint venture partner, Renew Estate.”

Peter Vest, Managing Director of WIRCON declared: “The evolving Australian team has grown significantly in recent months to be one of the most diverse and knowledgeable in Australia. We have great partnerships that continue to go from strength to strength which, coupled with the unique capital arrangements within the group, prove to be a powerful recipe for success. As we move forward we will continue to evaluate ways in which to provide long-term sustainable investment platforms for our shareholders, whilst mitigating longer-term foreign exchange risk. The next 2-3 years within WIRCON and WIRSOL are set to be challenging but hugely exciting.”

Bill Calcraft, Non-Executive Director of WIRSOL Energy Pty Ltd states: “Adding these two projects of 199MWp to our existing portfolio highlights the significant movement we have had on the Australian solar industry to date. The team here in Australia have accomplished major achievements since our entry earlier this year with no evidence of the WIRSOL movement slowing down. As 2017 ends on a hugely positive note, we are set to enter an ambitious 2018 with an impressive pipeline.”

CEFC Large-Scale Solar Lead Monique Miller said: “The CEFC is delighted to work alongside WIRSOL as it increases its investment in large-scale solar projects. These projects are contributing to the ongoing development of Australia’s critical energy infrastructure. We are pleased our commitment of $207 million as sole debt financier to the Wemen and Clermont solar farms will enable WIRSOL to begin construction on the two projects as early as Januaryy 2018, while the company continues to secure offtake agreements.”