DIF teams up with Lighthouse on $186m Aussie solar deal

The Dutch firm has made its third large-scale solar investment in the country shortly after launching its fifth flagship fund.

DIF has formed a 50/50 joint venture with Melbourne-based Lighthouse Infrastructure to acquire the 125MW Clare Solar project in Queensland.

No value was disclosed for the transaction, but local reports place it at A$250 million ($186 million; €167 million), including debt. Neither DIF nor Lighhouse had responded to requests for comment at press time.

The duo bought the project from Madrid-based Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, which developed the facility, located 35km south-west of Ayr, in northern Queensland. The farm, currently under construction, is expected to become operational later this year.

Local utility Origin Energy has entered into a long-term contract to purchase 100 percent of the electricity output as well as the large-scale renewable energy certificates generated by the project. Financing is being provided by lenders NAB and SMBC.

Marko Kremer, DIF’s head of Australasia, noted that the transaction marks the firm’s third large-scale solar deal Down Under, and its second acquisition from FRV after purchasing Australia Capital Territory’s 20MW Royalla Solar farm last year.

Lighthouse will make the investment from its Solar Fund, which launched last year with an A$100 million target. DIF will fund the deal through its fourth flagship vehicle, which closed in 2015 on €1.15 billion and is now more than 75 percent invested.

Last month, Infrastructure Investor reported that the firm has started to raised DIF V with a target of €1.5 billion, with a €1.75 billion hard-cap.