BlackRock Real Assets has acquired a majority interest in a Queensland solar energy project, representing one of Australia's largest solar portfolio financings to date.
Financed through BlackRock Real Assets, the 150MW and 50MW solar farms are expected to commence operations in 2018. Edify Energy, the solar energy company that developed the project, will retain a 10% equity interest and provide construction and ongoing management services.
Long-term debt finance for the project, comprising about $90 million, will be provided by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Commonwealth Bank and Natixis. CEFC chief executive Ian Learmonth said the two farms "are helping drive Australia's clean energy transformation, by taking advantage of ideal solar energy generation conditions and building experience and expertise in the sector."
Edify chief executive John Cole said: "We are excited to have closed a second large-scale solar financing project with the CEFC and consider this transaction to be another significant step forward in mainstreaming solar power in the Australian renewable energy sector."
BlackRock Australia head Dominik Rohe said: "We are pleased to add renewable power capabilities to the local investment platform, as we leverage the unprecedented investment opportunities in this space while continuing to build out and diversify BlackRock's Australian business."
The solar farm acquisitions mark the first renewables investment in Australia for BlackRock Real Assets. These new investments take BlackRock's worldwide renewable energy investments to more than $6 billion. The firm has invested in more than 90 solar projects throughout the world.
"This transaction demonstrates BlackRock's continued focus on renewable power investments, which currently amount to more than US$4.8 billion of equity assets under management," BlackRock Real Assets global head Jim Barry said.
"The move into Australia represents a key part of the firm's long-term renewable power strategy, by which we continue to invest in attractive markets in order to provide a flow of addressable investment opportunities for our clients."