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Norton Rose Fulbright advises Maoneng Australia on the financial close of 255MWp Sunraysia Solar Farm | Global Law Firm | Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright advises Maoneng Australia on the financial close of 255MWp Sunraysia Solar Farm, the largest solar farm to have commenced construction in Australia this year

8 October 2018

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Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has advised the sponsor, Maoneng Australia, on all aspects of the development, construction, equity sale and debt financing of the 255MWp Sunraysia Solar Farm, near Balranald in Southern NSW.

The Sunraysia Solar Farm is being developed by Maoneng Australia, one of Australia’s leading solar PV developers and owner of renewable energy assets. The project is to be constructed and operated by Decmil Australia Pty Ltd.

In January 2018, Maoneng Australia embarked on an equity sale process as a precursor to securing debt financing for the project. This process culminated in John Laing acquiring a majority interest in the Sunraysia Solar Farm. This marks John Laing’s first solar investment in Australia. In addition to the equity funding, debt financing has been secured from ING, Mizuho, Nord LB, Bank of China and National Australia Bank.

The asset is underpinned by two power purchase agreements (PPAs) over 15 years, with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and AGL Energy. A separate Norton Rose Fulbright team, led by energy partner Kelly Davies, advised UNSW on the PPA. The Sunraysia Solar Farm plays a significant role for these two organisations – the project will support AGL in its Liddell Replacement Portfolio, and for UNSW, the project ensures the institution will be the first university globally to achieve carbon neutrality through a corporate PPA. For further details of the long-term PPA with UNSW, please click here. The two PPAs guarantee the project long-term and stable returns.

The project will provide the Balranald community with job opportunities, creating significant local economic growth, regional opportunity and strengths in the renewable energy sector for the NSW / VIC region.

A cross-practice team from Norton Rose Fulbright, led by corporate partner Raymond Lou and project finance partner Rob White, was supported by members of the corporate, project finance, construction and engineering, environment and planning, regulatory, and real estate teams. The cross-practice team advised on all project documents in connection with the project, including EPC and O&M contracts with Decmil, connection agreements with Transgrid, and the PPAs with both AGL and UNSW. In addition, the teams also advised on various environmental, planning and consents matters, land arrangements, and the provision of equity and debt financing.

Norton Rose Fulbright partner Raymond Lou commented:

“We are pleased to have worked closely with Maoneng since project conception, and advising them through the project lifecycle to deliver another significant renewable energy project, since advising Maoneng with their first major investment in Australia – the 13MW Mugga Lane Solar Park in the ACT. The Sunraysia Solar Farm is another key project contributing to the changing energy mix in the region, playing an important role towards the transition to cleaner and more affordable energy.”

The team led by Raymond Lou and Rob White was supported by partners Noni Shannon (environment and planning), Michael McKee (real estate), Emanuel Confos (construction and engineering), Vittorio Casamento (ISDA documentation); senior consultants Lisa Koch and Karel Potgieter (project finance); special counsel Steven Choi and Claire Forster; senior associates Stuart Robertson, Sonali Seneviratne, Duncan Webber and Gareth Munnick; associates Justin Goushas, Shen Low, Christian McMahon, Danielle Sterling, Hui Tjioman and Marco Lagos; lawyer Liya Wu; and graduates Kit Man Cheng and Sarah Gosling.