Abu Dhabi reaches financial close for solar project

25 May 2017

Adwea has raised $650m in bank debt to fund for the world’s biggest solar power project

Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (Adwea) has raised AED3.2bn ($872m) through a financing package for its solar power plant, according to its director general Saif Saleh al-Sayari.

Adwea has secured $650m in debt from local and international banks while the rest was raised in equity for what is billed to be the world’s biggest solar power project, Al-Sayari told reporters in Abu Dhabi.

The structure of 25-year loan allows refinancing after five years. Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi was the leading arranger of the deal along with three other Japanese banks - Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Norinchukin Bank. French BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole , Natixis and local First Abu Dhabi Bank were also part of the transaction.

MEED on 28 February reported that Adwea signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with a consortium led by Japan’s Marubeni Corporation and China’s Jinko Solar to develop a 1,177MW solar plant. The project developers along with Adwea are contributing to the equity part of the financing package.

Construction is expected to start immediately on the independent power project (IPP), which will eclipse the 800MW third phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum solar park in neighbouring Dubai.

The Marubeni/Jinko Solar consortium submitted the lowest tariff in September 2016 for the 350MW PV Sweihan IPP. The tariff of 2.42 $c/kWh (cents a kilowatt hour) set the world record for an unsubsidised PV solar project. While the actual tariff will be higher as the price will be based on evaluated weighted levelised electricity costs (EWLEC), which includes adjustments for electrical energy provided, rather than just the weighted levelised electricity costs (WLEC), it was still considered a record tariff at the time it was offered.

The project forms part of the UAE’s target for 50 per cent of energy to come from clean resources by 2050, of which 44 per cent will come from renewable energy.

Germany’s Fichtner is the technical adviser for the scheme. US-based Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is the legal adviser and the UK’s Alderbrook Finance is providing financial advisory services.

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