South Korean financial giant makes first renewable energy investment in Australia

09 Oct 2020

South Korea’s Hana Financial Investment has invested A$320 million in the 162-megawatt Columboola solar farm in Queensland.

It is the company’s first renewable energy investment in Australia, which it acquired from UK-based developer Luminous Energy.

‘The Columboola project is very special as it is the first-ever overseas greenfield project to be developed and successfully banked by a Korean financial investor as the sponsor,’ says Jaewon Lee, Project Manager at Hana Financial Investment, who led the transaction.

‘Based on the success of the Columboola project, Hana Financial will continue to develop more renewable projects in Australia with Korean power utilities as a strategic business model to help build a greener future with sustainable growth.’

Hana Financial will invest A$120 million of its own equity in the project, with the balance of A$200 million in debt coming from Australia’s ANZ Bank, Singaporean banking giant DBS, and French investment bank and services company Societe Generale.

Hana Financial has signed a long-term Power Purchase Agreement with CS Energy, a Queensland Government-owned energy business.

CS Energy will buy all of the solar farm’s output – estimated to be around 450GWh annually – and on-sell it to large commercial customers including Griffith University, Central Queensland University and Queensland University of Technology.

Queensland energy minister Anthony Lynham says the project, which will create 400 jobs, took the number of committed or operational large-scale renewable energy projects in the state to 41 since 2015. He adds the solar farm would help drive Queensland towards its target of 50% renewable energy use by 2030.

The solar farm will be built on a 405-hectare site between Chinchilla and Miles in the Western Downs region of Queensland.

It will feature special panels that absorb light from the front and the back, and a tracker system that allows them to follow the sun across the sky. The technologies are designed to significantly increase energy generation compared with traditional designs.

Construction is underway and due to be completed by the end of 2021.

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