Australian infrastructure manager launches $100m solar investment fund

Australian infrastructure manager launches $100m solar investment fund

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Infrastructure manager launches $100 million solar investment fund in yet another sign that solar projects hitting the mainstream.

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A leading manager of Australian infrastructure assets, Lighthouse Infrastructure Management, has announced a push into the solar market in yet another sign that Australian solar projects are becoming a mainstream investment.

Lighthouse, which managed some $2 billion of projects in the transport, energy and social infrastructure sectors, says it will seek to raise $100 million for its first Lighthouse Solar Fund, which will target large and household solar investments.

Lighthouse founder and managing director Mitch King said that the solar industry shares many similarities with the early years of infrastructure investment in Australia.

“Investors will, in addition to earning commercial returns, powerfully apply their capital to achieve long term environmental and social benefits, accelerating Australia’s transition towards a lower carbon society” King said in a statement.

The move by Lighthouse is believed to be one of many being proposed by various investment funds, including some from the UK, which has seen the most activity in the solar market in recent years, thanks to feed-in-tariffs which have since been withdrawn by the Conservative government.

It also follows the first ever asset backed “climate bond” in Australia that saw consumer credit company Flexigroup raise $50 million for investment in solar leasing.

The Lighthouse fund will be raised over two investment offer periods and will invest in a variety of solar PV systems and contracts with utility, government, commercial and industrial and residential customers.

King said the solar market in Australia was now worth $2 billion a year, and was offering commercial returns, and the potential for a market re-rating as the sector matures.

King said the Fund has identified a significant pipeline of opportunities in Australia that is expected to meet the Fund’s investment criteria.

It may also help unlock financing which has been absent from the industry to date, although that in turn has been due to the lack of contracts being signed by utilities and others interested in investing in solar.

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  1. Ian 5 years ago

    Solar is a hugely bankable asset. It’s a gift that keeps giving. The financial nature of solar power is a capital cost and then virtually no running costs. The pay back time is in the order of 5 years or much less . Churches and charities and schools would be ideal candidates for solar donations. A lump sum specifically for solar installation could be donated and the savings on the usual electricity bill could be used for the charity’s other funding needs.

    In other words, donations can be dual purposed or recycled. Firstly into an environmentally friendly solar panel investment and then through the electricity bill savings to the originally intended purpose. For instance a school might want to raise funds for books or sporting equipment. They could take the money raised and install solar. The electricity savings can then be used long term to purchase books etc.

    Similarly a company might have cash on hand that they would normally bank, or distribute at the end of the financial year. They could purchase solar panels and draw ” interest” on the electricity savings in subsequent years.

    Each dollar invested in a solar ” bank” will generated about 15 to 20 % interest all tax free! Plus for a small business the initial ” deposit” into this “solar bank” can be totally written off as a tax deduction. (Ie, if it is less than $20 000). Why most businesses have not seen this glaring opportunity and taken advantage of it is totally beyond me.

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