BlackRock enters Australian solar with 200MW buy

The manager has bought two utility-scale projects through its latest $1.65bn global renewable power fund.

BlackRock Real Assets has acquired a 90 percent stake in a 200MW portfolio of solar projects in Queensland from Australian solar developer Edify Energy for an undisclosed sum.

This is BlackRock’s first renewables investment in Australia. It is understood that the transaction was made through the Global Renewable Power Fund II, which closed on $1.65 billion in July to target solar and wind assets across the world.

BlackRock declined to comment.

The 200MW portfolio, comprising the 150MW Daydream and 50MW Hayman solar farms, is now ready for construction and expected to become fully operational in 2018. Edify will retain a 10 percent equity stake in the projects and provide construction and long-term asset management services. Australian utility Origin has signed a 12-year PPA with the Daydream farm, while Hayman will sell its output on a merchant basis. Both projects are capable of adding storage facilities in the future.

BlackRock said the transaction represents one of the largest solar portfolio financings to date in the Australian market, with long-term debt finance provided by the country’s green financier, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Natixis. The CEFC said it is lending about A$90 million ($70.6 million; €60 million) to the portfolio, as part of a syndicated debt facility, with CBA providing A$130 million.

BlackRock has invested in more than 90 solar projects globally over the past few years, forming a portfolio of more than 1GW. The firm’s renewable energy investments currently amount to more than $4.8 billion of equity assets under management.