Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has advised on an industry-first approach to streamline development and finance processes for solar PV projects.
‘Open Solar Contracts’, a collaboration between the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and The Terrawatt Initiative (TWI), provides freely available ‘open source’ standardised contract documentation, designed to simplify solar power transactions. The project was set up to support the rapid and widespread scale-up of solar energy, in line with goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. Open Solar Contracts offer simple and universally-applicable legal agreements that make contracting much faster and less costly.
The contracts are products of a rigorous and collective process involving key market-leading energy stakeholders, of which Norton Rose Fulbright was a partner alongside a number of other law firms. Expertise and experience from different jurisdictions was brought together to ensure that Open Solar Contracts products have a balanced risk allocation and apply universally.
Norton Rose Fulbright’s pro bono role included leading the PPA work group and contributing to the detailed review of final draft contracts to ensure consistency and bankability. Members of the firm’s team were also seconded to TWI to ensure a coordinated response from contributors and drive the timeline.
Norton Rose Fulbright’s global head of energy, Anne Lapierre, led the firm’s team on the project. She comments:
“Open Solar Contracts truly are a game-changer for the solar industry. Now available to be accessed by any business, they will allow the easier and lower-cost development of a tremendous amount of much-needed small and medium-sized decentralized solar PV projects around the world.
“We are proud to have contributed over the past four years on a pro bono basis to this fantastic initiative alongside The Terrawatt Initiative, IRENA and a large number of market stakeholders.”
The global Norton Rose Fulbright team also included partner and head of North Africa Alain Malek (Morocco and France), partners Chris Down (London) and Andrew Hedges (London) and knowledge of counsel Kathryn Emmett (London). The firm acted alongside law firms Baker McKenzie, Bird & Bird, Covington, Dentons, Eversheds Sutherland, Freshfields, Latham & Watkins, Milbank, ReedSmith and White & Case.
The Open Solar Contract launch took place at the World Future Energy Summit 2020 in Abu Dhabi. Standardised contracts included in Open Solar Contracts are: Power Purchase Agreement, Implementation Agreement, O&M Agreement, Supply Agreement, Installation Agreement and Finance Facility Term Sheet. For more information, go to opensolarcontracts.org
The Terrawatt Initiative is a global non-profit organization designed to answer the call of governments and seize the opportunity to implement a new global energy mix that corresponds to a new energy paradigm.