CleanPeak expands solar mall portfolio in Australia with ReNu acquisition


Queensland-based independent power producer ReNu Energy’s 12-month bid to secure debt and equity funding has been resolved with the decision to sell its embedded network operations, as well as the Amaroo Solar PV facility, to CleanPeak Energy.

“Having not been successful in raising the necessary funds required to build out our portfolio and acquire further assets to move the company into a cash-flow-positive position, the board and I believe that this transaction represents the best option to protect the long-term interests of our shareholders,” ReNu Energy Chairman Steve McLean said in an Australian Stock Exchange announcement.

ReNu’s portfolio of embedded networks includes the Shopping Centres Australasia (SCA) properties: Murray Bridge Marketplace (980 kW DC) and Mount Gambier Marketplace (630 kW) in South Australia, in addition to Lismore Central (185 kW) and Griffin Plaza (360 kW) in New South Wales.

In June, ReNu signed a Heads of Agreement (HOA) with SCA for four more solar PV embedded-network projects at shopping centers in the states of Victoria and Queensland. It has also started conducting viability assessments of the properties’ electrical infrastructure and load profiles.

Last Friday, ReNu accepted an offer of A$5.775 million ($3.89 million), less debt, from CleanPeak to acquire its existing embedded-network operations. Those assets include the 600 kW ACT Amaroo Solar PV Project, which ReNu acquired in 2018.

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CleanPeak’s own C&I portfolio includes Primo Foods’ 3.2 MW installation at its facility in Wacol, Queensland, and 10 shopping center solar systems, mostly in the Charter Hall Retail portfolio.

This year, CleanPeak Energy — established in 2017 by Philip Graham, a former Citigroup utilities and infrastructure banker, and Jonathan Hare, a former Origin Energy executive — attracted A$100 million in investment from Colonial First State Global Asset Management. Its approach addresses risks for customers that install significant amounts of C&I rooftop PV.

ReNu will now focus on its geothermal and bio-energy businesses, according to Craig Ricato, the company's CEO and managing director. “This transaction represents the best opportunity for ReNu Energy to continue to grow the business, whilst also allowing it to address its geothermal exploration program remediation obligations in the Cooper Basin and repay current debt,” Ricato said.

The acquisition of ReNu Energy assets will take CleanPeak several arrays closer to achieving its goal of managing rooftop PV at 50 shopping centers by the end of this year. In Australia, the company is partnered with Oregon U.S.-based Powin Energy. The two sides have already agreed to roll out up to 10 MW of battery energy storage systems, in Powin’s first foray in the Australian market.

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