solarZero has again partnered with New Zealand Green Investment Finance (NZGIF) to become the cornerstone participant in a new NZGIF Solar Finance programme.
The NZGIF Solar Finance programme will initially finance solarZero’s portfolio of residential Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) – the largest such portfolio in New Zealand.
A Chapman Tripp team including Partner, Gerard Souness and Senior Associate, Jana Hitchcock advised on NZGIF’s establishment of the Solar Finance Programme, with specialist input from Tax Partner Bevan Miles. Partner, Luke Ford and Senior Solicitor, Tom van Schaik assisted on solarZero’s refinance into the Programme.
Alongside its own investment of $80 million, the largest-ever to be made by NZGIF, the initial raise attracted $90 million of private capital from international investors First Sentier Investors and Natixis Investment Managers.
The innovative structure, which brought together a unique range of securitisation and project finance concepts to provide solarZero with long-term fixed rate financing, is certified by the Climate Bonds Initiative. Climate Bonds Initiative certification is used globally by bond issuers, governments, and investors to prioritise investments which genuinely contribute to addressing climate change. NZGIF is the first NZ-based financial institution to achieve the certification.
Gerard said, “NZGIF was established to accelerate investment in New Zealand’s decarbonisation. This deal provides long-term, fixed rate debt to enable providers of solar energy to give New Zealanders greater access to residential solar and battery solutions.”
In 2021 Chapman Tripp advised solarZero on an initial $10m investment from NZGIF, followed by a facility to launch its solarZero Schools initiative, providing solar installations in both schools and commercial buildings. solarZero is owned by BlackRock via its Climate Infrastructure franchise.
Luke said, “We are pleased to have been an ongoing part of solarZero’s growth as it makes solar more accessible for New Zealand. With NZGIF they have established a sustainable funding platform attractive to internal and domestic funders.”
Chapman Tripp has also advised on the financing of several large energy projects in the last year aimed to accelerate the decarbonisation of New Zealand. These include Lodestone Energy’s development of five solar farms and New Zealand Steel’s electric arc furnace.
Mayne Wetherell advised investors First Sentier Investors and Natixis Investment Managers. DLA Piper acted for NZGIF in relation to the refinancing of solarZero. Public Trust is trustee for the Solar Finance Programme and was represented by Webb Henderson. Societe Generale acted as arranger and green loan coordinator for structuring the NZGIF Solar Finance issuance and NZGIF corporate green financing framework. Westpac New Zealand provides hedging to solarZero.