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DIF buys into one of Australia’s largest solar farms

Investing alongside Italian group Enel, the 275MW project represents the firm’s second solar deal in Australia.

Dutch fund manager DIF has bought a 50 percent stake in a 275MW solar farm in South Australia, after investing alongside Italian energy company Enel Green Power.

The Bungala project is set to be Australia’s second-largest solar park once built, behind only a planned 330MW site being constructed in the same state by investment firm Lyon Group. The latter will also be equipped with 100MW of storage.

DIF and Enel bought the project from developer Reach Solar Energy, which is building it in two 137.5MW phases. Construction on the first site is set to begin in the middle of this year, while the second phase is scheduled to begin construction by the end of 2017. The entire project will be producing maximum power by Q3 2018.

The large-scale power projects announced in South Australia follow a state blackout last September that prompted a fierce national debate about conventional and renewable energy policy. A report two weeks ago from market operator Aeno found the blackout was caused by a combination of two tornadoes which caused a sudden reduction in wind power, triggering large amounts of imported power that the grid was unable to withstand.

“This investment represents an attractive, large-scale solar PV energy investment, underpinned by stable, long-term contracted cash flows,” said Marko Kremer, DIF’s head of Australasia.

The acquisition of Bungala is DIF’s second in Australia after it bought the 20MW Royalla project last January. Both deals were sealed through its €1.15 billion Fund IV, a vehicle that also spearheaded the company’s entrance into the US with the acquisition of a 33.3 percent interest in Denver's Northwest Parkway toll road.