Posted with permission from dpa German Press Agency

Sydney (dpa) - An Australian and a German renewable energy developer have been able to secure funding for Australia's largest single solar project deal it was announced on Monday.

Australian company Edify Energy and German investor Wirsol have secured 230 million Australian dollars (174 million US dollars) for three new large-scale solar farms: the Whitsunday and Hamilton Solar Farms in Collinsville in north Queensland and the Gannawarra Solar Farm, the first large-scale solar farm in the southern state of Victoria.

Collinsville has a long history of coal mining. Now, solar companies are trying to take advantage of the region's 300 days of sunshine.

The funding for the project comes from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, German bank NORD/LB and the Australian government's Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Some 675,000 panels are to be installed at the three farms that will add 165 Megawatts (AC) of renewable energy capacity to the national grid from next year, generating power for an estimated 87,000 households.

John Cole, the founder and chief executive of Edify Energy, said Australia has a strong renewables market and the funding highlights the beginning of more large-scale renewable energy investments in the country.

"Transactions such as this demonstrate that the combination of project development and structuring expertise, and investment confidence is once again present in the Australian renewable sector."

He told dpa the solar farms will also help tackle the impending energy shortfall in Australia.

Last week, the country's energy market operator warned that a major gas shortage was looming for Australia from next year, which would result in a shortfall of gas-powered electricity generation, with rising energy prices and power cuts the most likely results.

Commonwealth Bank said it was proud to support the "landmark" transaction, while the Clean Energy Finance Corporation said the funding for the projects came from their large-scale solar financing programme, which has now exceeded 280 million dollars worth of commitments.

"We created our large-scale solar programme as a means of providing tailored finance to accelerate large-scale solar projects in Australia at the lowest possible cost," Gloria Chan, the corporation's solar programme head, said in a statement.