Top firms act on Australia’s largest single-stage solar project

Support from a trio of firms helped the $225m project close financially without financial assistance from government bodies CEFC and ARENA, a significant achievement for the Queensland solar industry

Top firms act on Australia’s largest single-stage solar project
A trio of top firms have acted on the $225m Ross River solar farm in Queensland, the nation’s largest single-stage solar project yet.

Mills Oakley (MO) and King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) advised ESCO Pacific and Palisade Investment Partners, the co-investors and developers of the solar farm, which reached financial close on Monday. Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) advised Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU), and Westpac Banking Corporation (Westpac), which provided financing for the project.

MO advised ESCO and Palisade on a wide range of matters for the project, including power purchase negotiations, construction, operations and maintenance, planning and property. KWM advised on the financing plan, the initial acquisition, and Palisade’s initial investment in the project.

Expected to be completed by constructor Downer Utilities in 12 months, the 148MW project located 20km southwest of Townsville consists of about 420,000 solar panels, which will provide enough energy to power more than 65,000 homes. The successful close of the project was achieved without debt finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation or a grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, a significant achievement for Queensland’s solar industry, HSF said.

The MO team is led by partner Luke Westmore, who is assisted by partner Daniel Livingston, special counsel Danny O’Brien and Damiano Castelli, senior associate James Williams, associate Mary-Anne El-Hage, lawyers Jordan Lyon and Luke Duggan, and graduate Nicole Guglielmi.

The KWM team advising Palisade is led by partner Roderick Smythe, who is supported by solicitors Jahan Navidi and Jennifer Darmody. Partner Craig Rogers advices ESCO, with support from solicitor Adam Black. Palisade is a long-time KWM client as the firm also advised on the establishment of the Palisade Renewable Energy Fund.

The HSF team is led by partner Gerard Pike, who is supported by executive counsel Alison Dodd, senior associates Helen Beatty and Caroline Rowe, and solicitors Michael D'Agostino and Michael Thurin.

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