IIG to seed new solar fund with 19MW Victoria plant

The $25m project is Australian impact investment manager’s largest solar deal.

Melbourne-based fund manager Impact Investment Group has backed a 19MW solar farm in Victoria, which will be one of the seed assets in a new solar fund it plans to launch. 

The details of the fund “will be released in due course”, said the Australian fund manager, which closed the A$100 million ($78.8 million; €67.1 million) Solar Income Fund in August 2016.

The 25-year, 19MW Swan Hill Solar Farm, which is expected to become operational later this month, has a total investment cost of approximately A$32 million and will power the equivalent of approximately 6,300 Australian homes. Australian Solar Group is developing the project, with RCR Tomlinson as the EPC contractor. 

“This project will be our largest investment in a single solar farm, and is expected to be one of the highest capacity solar farms in Victoria on completion,” said IIG.

IIG’s Solar Income Fund has acquired three assets worth A$60 million, and provided debt financing to the Epuron portfolio of assets, according to an IIG spokesperson. 

Chief executive Chris Lock expressed the firm’s intention to launch a successor structure and seek further commitments from Australian high-net-worth individuals, family offices and small super-funds, in an interview with Infrastructure Investor last year. 

“The project demonstrates that IIG can create investment opportunities in solar assets even during times of policy uncertainty for Australian energy markets. Many sophisticated investors recognise that the world is shifting to renewable power, such as wind and solar,” said Lock. 

The firm set up its renewable energy infrastructure team – led by Lane Crockett, former executive general manager of Pacific Hydro – in 2015, in response to opportunities emerging in the Australian solar market. 

IIG’s clients include individuals, families, institutional investors, corporations and foundations. It has more than A$400 million in funds under management, investing across property, renewables and businesses with deep social and environmental impacts.