CleanPeak expands its solar shopping-centre portfolio with acquisition of ReNu 

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Queensland-based independent power producer ReNu Energy’s 12-month bid to secure debt and equity funding has been resolved with the decision to sell its embedded network operations and the Amaroo Solar PV facility to CleanPeak Energy.

“Having not been successful in raising the necessary funds required to build out our portfolio and acquire further assets to move the company into a cash-flow-positive position, the Board and I believe that this transaction represents the best option to protect the long-term interests of our shareholders,” ReNu Energy Chairman, Steve McLean said in an Australian Stock Exchange Announcement.

ReNu’s portfolio of embedded networks includes the Shopping Centres Australasia (SCA) properties: Murray Bridge Marketplace (980 kW DC) and Mount Gambier Marketplace (630 kW) in South Australia; and Lismore Central (185 kW) and Griffin Plaza (360 kW) in New South Wales.

In June, ReNu signed a Heads of Agreement (HOA) with SCA for four more solar PV embedded-network projects at shopping-centres in Victoria and Queensland, and had begun viability assessments of the properties’ electrical infrastructure and load profiles. 

On Friday ReNu accepted an offer for $5.775 million (less debt) from CleanPeak to acquire its existing embedded-network operations, including the energy retail authorisation, and the 600 kW ACT Amaroo Solar PV Project which ReNu acquired in 2018.

CleanPeak’s own C&I portfolio includes Primo Foods’ 3.2 MW installation at its facility in Wacol, Queensland and 10 shopping centre solar systems, mostly in the Charter Hall Retail portfolio.

Established in 2017 by former Citigroup utilities and infrastructure banker, Philip Graham, and Jonathan Hare, a former Origin Energy executive, CleanPeak Energy this year attracted $100 million in investment from Colonial First State Global Asset Management.

It’s approach resolves C&I customers’ difficulties in holding and managing the risks of installing significant rooftop PV, by negotiating long-term leases of suitable rooftop infrastructure, installing, owning and operating integrated PV and storage systems, and providing the resulting low-cost energy to site owners or tenants.

ReNu will now focus on its geothermal and bio-energy businesses. Said CEO and Managing Director, Craig Ricato: “This transaction represents the best opportunity for ReNu Energy to continue to grow the business, whilst also allowing it to address its geothermal exploration program remediation obligations in the Cooper Basin and repay current debt.”

The acquisition of ReNu Energy assets will take CleanPeak several arrays closer to achieving its goal of 50 shopping centres under rooftop PV by the end of 2019.

CleanPeak is partnered in Australia with Oregon US-based Powin Energy Corporation, with which it has contracted to roll out up to 10 MW of battery energy storage systems — Powin’s first in the Australian market.