Australian infrastructure fund Lighthouse Solar has bought its second solar farm in Queensland, a 20MW project currently under construction in Hughenden in the state’s north.
The purchase was announced overnight by BayWA, a German renewable energy developer that recently bought part of the Australian solar PV portfolio of Overland Solar and is pursuing other projects in Victoria and Queensland.
Lighthouse Solar , which is managed by Lighthouse Infrastructure, has already invested in the Clare Solar Farm, also under construction in Queensland.
Managing director Peter Johnston said solar PV was providing attractive returns for investors, and he expected further investments in both solar farms and energy storage.
“We have got number of clients looking for us to invest in solar. We expect to get good returns and we are continuing to invest” Johnston told RenewEconomy. The fund was launched last year, seeking to raise $100 million from investors, and is one of a number of investment funds in the solar space.
The Hughenden solar farm has a 13 year power purchase agreement with Simply Energy – at an undisclosed price. It is being built using single axis tracking and will be completed by the end of October.
“The sale of our first Australian solar project, so soon after entering the market, is testament to our growing success in the region and the strength of Australia’s rapidly expanding solar sector and desire to reduce high electricity prices through renewables,” BatWa director Matthias Taft said in a statement.
“We are very pleased to be working with Lighthouse Infrastructure. The company has a clear mission to increase solar generation in Australia, which we very much share.
“We will continue to operate and manage the Hughenden plant following its completion and look forward to a long-lasting relationship with Lighthouse Infrastructure to deliver cleaner energy for Australia.”
Lighthouse Infrastructure, who were advised in this transaction by Planum Partners, Herbert Smith Freehills, and WSP.
BayWa Solar managing director Daniel Gäfke said Australian is an exciting market, given its high levels of sunlight.
“We are currently investing in a further three large projects in Northern Victoria and Queensland. These projects, once operational, will have a combined output of just under 280 MW. All three are set to be generating electricity before the end of 2018 and are just the first steps in our expansion into Australia”.
Note: This story has been updated to make clear that only some of the Overland portfolio had been sold, not all as described in the original version.
Giles Parkinson is a journalist of 30 years experience, a former Business Editor and Deputy Editor of the Financial Review, a columnist for The Bulletin magazine and The Australian, and the former editor of Climate Spectator.