CEFC sharpens focus on small-scale solar with $150 million investment


The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has boosted its commitment with infrastructure debt provider Infradebt from $50 million (USD 33 million) to $150 million while the mandate’s investment scope has been expanded to include renewable energy projects up to 50 MW, from the previous 35 MW.

The CEFC said the finance will play “a significant role in driving private sector investment in the small- to mid-market renewables space where there has been a traditional funding gap.”

CEFC Chief Investment Officer for renewables and sustainable finance, Monique Miller, said the investment through Canberra-based Infradebt would sit alongside the corporation’s investments in utility-scale renewable generation and storage.

Miller highlighted that Australia’s “very ambitious” renewable energy goals require a “substantial and sustained increase” in investment across the sector.

“This CEFC investment, with its focus on smaller-scale generators, complements our focus on large-scale solar and wind generation, essential energy storage and grid transmission, all of which will play a critical role in powering our net-zero future,” she said.

The expanded mandate will see the CEFC coinvest alongside Infradebt’s flagship Infradebt Ethical Fund (IEF) in new Australian renewable energy projects with a capacity of up to 50 MW.

Infradebt Chief Executive Officer Alexander Austin said the mandate, originally established in 2019, has already provided backing for nine small- to mid-sized solar projects and the increased funding commitment would support more private sector investment in this space.

“This capital will boost Infradebt’s capacity to continue to provide debt finance to Australian renewable projects,” he said.

Projects which have already secured funding under the CEFC-Infradebt mandate include the 4.95 MW Leeton and Fivebough solar farms developed in southern New South Wales (NSW) by Netherlands-based Photon Energy.

German developer Enerparc secured debt financing for 5 MW solar farms at Trundle Hill and Peak Hill near Parkes in central-west NSW that were recently acquired by the investment arm of Ikea franchisee owner Ingka Group, while the mandate has also provided backing for a portfolio of five solar farms being developed in northern Victoria by Sungrove Energy.

While the focus of this investment mandate will remain on generation projects, Infradebt recently launched a fund focused solely on grid-scale energy storage.

Infradebt, backed by Grok Ventures, the private investment firm of tech billionaires Mike and Anne Cannon-Brookes, said the ETF will provide debt finance for six to eight utility-scale battery projects with a total capacity of up to 2 GW over coming years.

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