CEFC supplies AUD100 million for solar leasing

Both residential and commercial customers will have the opportunity to access a rooftop solar power purchase agreement (PPA) under a scheme provided by Australian utility Origin and supported by the CEFC.

The CEFC has indicated it is currently accessing solar funding applications worth more than AUD1 billion (US$772 million), including in excess of AUD500 million (US$386 million) in finance for solar projects.

“We are working with project proponents, major utilities and retailers to expand the range of solar finance options, to deepen solar penetration, diversify the technology deployment and lower costs. We hope to be in a position to announce further solar projects in the near future,” said CEFC CEO Oliver Yates.

The CEFC is a body created in the previous Australian Labor government, that supports renewable energy deployment by providing finance, while also aiming to deliver a positive return on investment for the government. The current Coalition government has repeatedly attempted to shut down or defund the body.

The CEFC reports that its portfolio to date includes 33% solar, 30% energy efficiency, 21% wind and 16% other technologies. It was recently instructed by the Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to direct more funds towards the deployment of solar, in a deal struck with Senators to see its Renewable Energy Target reduction legislation passed.

CEFC CEO Yates indicated that the financing provided to Origin will allow the utility not only to deliver rooftop solar but also storage systems under its PPA program. A growing number of market analyses indicated that distributed storage is nearing or has already arrived at commercial viability in the Australian market.

Origin’s head of solar and emerging business Phil Mackey said that the utility is seeking to grow its position as a provider of solar in the markets in which it is active.

“Solar as a Service is already proving an attractive proposition to customers since it

was launched earlier this year, and the CEFC finance will be used in expanding the

offering, so more Australians can enjoy the benefits of solar,” Mackey said.

A number of companies are attempting to provide solar leases or PPAs to the Australian market including California-based Sungevity, which itself was co-founded by Australian Danny Kennedy.