Australian infrastructure investor Infrastructure Capital Group (ICG) agreed to buy a majority stake in a 200 MW portfolio of Aussie solar projects from domestic developer Providence Asset Group (PAG). ICG has made an initial commitment of $71.9 million to buy the Ginan Solar portfolio, including operational and under development projects. With the move, the company has secured the right to “significantly scale the investment further” to include co-located batteries and hydrogen.ICG, through its Australian Renewables Income Fund (ARIF), will take a majority interest in 16 operational solar sites in Victoria (total of 132 MW), with rights to develop a further 25 solar projects across New South Wales, totaling an additional 156 MW.
Each site consists of a 5 MW distribution-connected solar PV project. Sub 5 MW solar projects provide advantages over large-scale projects, including speed of approval, construction, and connection. They also allow for flexibility in deploying various types of energy storage, including hydrogen and batteries.
There is already an aggregated offtake agreement in place for ten of the sites in Victoria with Smartest Energy, a purchaser of independent generation and supplier of renewable electricity.
Commenting on the transaction, Tom Laidlaw, Managing Director of ICG, said: “We are delighted to be investing in and partnering with Providence Asset Group in what is a unique and scalable portfolio of clean energy generation assets. “This is our first investment into operating solar assets, providing further diversification of the existing ARIF portfolio consisting of wind and hydro. Importantly it also provides the opportunity to assess long-duration hydrogen storage applications across ICG managed assets.”
PwC Australia and Gilbert + Tobin advised ICG on the transaction.
According to Mercom’s recently published 2021 Annual and Q4 solar funding and M&A Report, there were 280 large-scale solar project acquisitions in 2021 compared to 231 transactions in 2020. In 2021, the sector also saw the most project acquisition activity in gigawatts, with more than 69 GW changing hands compared to 40 GW in 2020.