Top firms act on Queensland solar farm sale and funding

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Top firms have acted on a myriad of matters in relation to the sale of Origin Energy’s 110MW Darling Downs solar project in Queensland to APA Group, which said the cost to buy and build the project is about $200m.

Herbert Smith Freehills acted for the APA Group, while King & Wood Mallesons advised Origin Energy, which originally proposed the project. DLA Piper advised the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which has provided a $20m grant to fund the project.

Under the agreement, Origin will buy all power produced by the solar farm from when it is finished in late 2018 until December 2030. Origin will also acquire the associated Renewable Energy Certificates. The APA Group said that the deal, which financially closed on 1 May, came with the option to acquire the nearby Beelbee solar farm development site.

The HSF team, which advised on the acquisition, off take, procurement, and ARENA funding arrangements for the project, was led by partners Peter Davis on the acquisition and off-take, Toby Anderson on procurement, and John Angus on ARENA funding. They were assisted by senior associates Brodie Same and Daniel Ficyk, and solicitors Peter Ip and Lan Wei.

The KWM team was led by partner Scott Gardiner with support from solicitor Shirley Cheng. Partner Shannon Etwell advised on the construction related aspects of the deal with support from solicitor Nicole Wieringa.

The DLA Piper team was led by finance and projects partner Kate Papailiou, who was assisted by senior associates Marnie Carroll and Bing Wang. DLA Piper is ARENA’s portfolio counsel.

“2017 has seen a significant amount of attention and investment in the renewables sector so far, with several more projects in the pipeline. We are excited to continue our work in the rapidly-growing Australian renewables sector over the rest of 2017,” said Anderson, who also leads HSF's Asia Pacific renewables team.

The sentiment was echoed by Papailiou, who said that large solar projects have come of age in the country.

“Utility-scale Solar PV has certainly 'come of age' in Australia over the past six months, and we're excited to see a healthy pipeline of large-scale projects building beyond the completion of the funding round,” said Papailiou.

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