ING steps into Australian market, to finance 100 MW Clare Solar Farm

Large international investors continue to be attracted to utility scale solar projects in Australia. ING is the latest multinational to make the move, investing an trend-setting project that will be of the largest 1500 V and tracked PV power plant projects in Australia.

Having already provided debt finance for the 400 MW MacArthur and 106 MW Bald Hills wind farms, ING has joined the Australian large scale solar market. ING’s Utilities, Power and Renewable unit have been active in Australia since 2013.

The Netherlands-based global bank announced last week that it will join the syndicate backing the 100 MW Clare Solar Farm. The solar project has a PPA with utility Origin Energy for 100% of its output and Large Scale Renewable Energy Certificates (LRECs).

The Clare Solar Farm will deploy a single-axis tracking structure, making it the largest tracking solar farm deploying in Australia. The project is also notable for its 1500 V rating, delivering reduced balance of system (BoS) costs on a watt-peak basis.

The project will feature modules designed to protect it against high winds and harsh UV light. Trina Solar will supply its 1500 V dual-glass, frameless Duomax modules to the project.

Trina provides a 30-year performance guarantee on the Duomax, allowing for an annual power degradation of 0.5%. For its Duomax, Trina utilizes a clear EVA, and replaces a standard backsheet with a second sheet of glass – protecting it from stresses resulting from high winds while delivering resilience against high levels of UV light.

“ING has extensive experience supporting diverse renewable energy projects around the world, including solar, wind, geothermal and hydro,” said Charles Ho, Head of Wholesale Banking Australia. “This transaction stresses our global experience in renewables and also marks our expansion in the Australian market.”

Spain’s Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) is the developer of Clare Solar, and ING client DIF is an investor in the Clare Solar Farm, alongside Lighthouse Infrastructure.

In a statement announcing the move, ING noted that the falling cost of large scale solar in Australia is “building investors’ confidence” in the projects.

In June, FRV received approval from the Burkendin Shire Council to develop the 45 MW Clare II Solar Farm, adjacent to its larger sister project.

Downer is acting as the construction contractor on the project, on which work commenced in May. Grid connection is slated for this quarters (Q4 2017).