Foresight completes $58m solar deal in Australia

The acquisition of three Queensland plants is its third in the country and swells the UK fund manager’s global portfolio to 622MW.

The acquisition of Canadian Solar’s three construction-stage assets by Foresight Group has reached financial close, completing the UK fund manager’s third deal in Australia.

The acquisition comprises the 49 percent interests in both the 17MW Longreach Solar Farm and the 30MW Oakey 1 Solar, as well as the 100 percent ownership of the 70MW Oakey 2 Solar Farm. All three projects are located in Queensland.

Foresight said its total equity investment, including construction costs, amounts to around A$74 million ($58 million; €48 million) and will be funded by the existing Revolving Credit Facility. It added that there was an increase in investment due to an amendment to the Oakey 2 capital structure to deliver a more conservative gearing position.

“The total consideration paid to the vendor for the Australian portfolio has broadly remained unchanged,” said Foresight.

Project finance for Longreach and Oakey 1 was already in place when Foresight announced the acquisition in October 2017. The two projects are backed by senior debt facilities from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the country’s clean energy financier, and Japan’s Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, jointly totalling A$65 million. CEFC is also extending its commitment to the Oakey solar farms by committing A$55 million in debt financing to Oakey 2.

Both Longreach and Oakey 1 have secured 20-year power purchase agreements with the Queensland Government, while the investment manager is currently reviewing the PPA options for Oakey 2.

“These Australian assets ensure greater diversity across the portfolio and will be making a strong contribution for our investors once operational,” said Ricardo Piñeiro, a partner at Foresight.

The 117MW portfolio has boosted Foresight Solar Fund’s portfolio to a net capacity of 622MW.

In Australia, the fund invested in Barcaldine Solar Farm in early 2017, and co-invested in the 110MW Bannerton Solar Farm in Victoria with KDB Infrastructure Asset Management in October last year. The fund’s portfolio also includes a 475MW UK portfolio which is fully operational and accredited.