Norton Rose Fulbright advises on ‘multiple firsts’ in major solar energy transaction

Global Business March 2017

A cross-border team from global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has advised international solar energy company Wirsol Energy on the acquisition and the project financing of a portfolio of three large scale solar PV projects in Queensland and Victoria.

The projects are the 57.5MW Whitsunday project (Queensland), the 57.5MW Hamilton project (Queensland) and the 50MW Gannawarra project (Victoria). They have been developed by Edify Energy and $231 million of project financing was provided by Commonwealth Bank of Australia, NordLB and Clean Energy Finance Corporation. ARENA provided funding for the Whitsunday project through its large scale solar program. Elgar Middleton were financial adviser to Wirsol Energy on the project financing of the portfolio.

The acquisition and financing closed on March 10, 2017, and the projects are scheduled for completion early in 2018.  

Norton Rose Fulbright global head of energy Simon Currie commented:

"Innovation comes in all shapes and sizes, and it was pleasing to work on a transaction that contained multiple ‘firsts’. This was the first portfolio acquisition and financing of utility scale solar PV in Australia; the first financing for solar PV with merchant exposure and long term debt from the local market; and the first large scale solar PV project to reach financial close in Victoria.

2017 is when solar in Australia comes of age and the prediction that we will become the "Saudi Arabia" of solar will start to ring true."

The Norton Rose Fulbright team included lawyers from our Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Hamburg offices. Simon Currie led the team advising Wirsol, supported by lead associate Tom Bramah, with senior associate Melissa Park (project financing) and special counsel; Raymond Lou (M&A).  Other Australian partners who advised on the deal were, in Australia: Noni Shannon, Emanuel Confos, Ellen ThomasMichael French and Justin Lucas; and in Germany: Timo Noftz.

Also working on the deal were senior associates Kathy Prince, Steven Choi, Juliette King, Kelly Davies, Jacqueline Plant; and associates Sally-Ann Rowland, Michael Volks, Tom Langsford, Ben Carrozzi and Sam Purcell; and lawyer Jacqueline Fetchet.

Our team is currently working on over 20 large scale projects across Australia. In 2016 we advised Conergy on the Lakeland solar and storage project in Queensland. Last week this project was chosen by industry publication IJ Global as the Asia-Pacific solar project of the year.

For further information please contact:

Alex Boxsell, Senior Brand & External Communications Manager, Norton Rose Fulbright in Australia
Tel: +61 (0)2 9330 8165 Mob: +61 (0)414 985 556

Notes for editors:

Norton Rose Fulbright 

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