Singapore’s SC Oscar acquires New Zealand solar developer; seeks more deals

The fund manager will spend $135m on the construction of solar farms in New Zealand, providing much needed additional renewable electricity to the country’s national grid.

Singapore fund manager SC Oscar has acquired Rānui Generation, a New Zealand solar photovoltaic (PV) project developer.

Four underlying development-stage solar PV power projects in New Zealand, with total capacity of around 157 Megawatt peak (MWp), are included in this deal. An initial project is starting construction imminently, with two other projects close to ‘ready to build’ status, according to a June 18 press release.

This transaction was carried out through SC Oscar’s renewable energy infrastructure fund named SC Renewable Plus Fund 1, which achieved a second close in March 2024, and is seeking to raise $300 million in total capital commitments.

The fund is domiciled, managed and regulated in Singapore, with a focus on renewable energy infrastructure in developed markets across Asia Pacific (Apac). Investors are mainly from Southeast Asian corporates and a family office.

Total investment in the New Zealand project is approximately $135 million, according to the press release.

Site of one of the acquired Rānui projects, taken by SC Oscar

Co-founders of SC Oscar are Suchad Chiaranussati, who is also chairman and founder of SC Capital Partners; Conor McCoole, former global co-head of project and export finance at Standard Chartered and non-executive chairman at Asia Biogas; and Des Godson, founder of Oscar Energy, chief executive at Asia Biogas, who is also director of Rānui Generation being acquired.

McCoole told FinanceAsia that the team is “evaluating a pipeline of early-stage opportunities” in both Australia and New Zealand.

The private equity (PE) fund obtained a greenlight from the Overseas Investment Office in New Zealand in October 2023, regarding the purchase of four pieces of land across the country.

Disclosure from the office shows that the construction of the solar farms will require over NZ$150 million ($91.8 million) in investment and create job opportunities for the local market. Additionally, the farms will add approximately 221.425 Gigawatts per hour (GWh) of renewable electricity per year to New Zealand’s national grid.

“With support from the fund, Rānui will immediately begin construction of its first project in Northland and accelerate development of three other greenfield solar projects, with construction scheduled to start in 2025,” the release stated.

The SC Oscar team is planning for several more direct investments in renewable energy and energy transition real assets in the Apac region, with the acquisition of Rānui Generation being the first.

Its website underlines the attractiveness of New Zealand’s solar sector as a target market of the fund manager, citing the country’s high sovereign rating, commitment to achieve net zero, optimal solar resource and a stable, competitive electricity market.

Solar power generation only supplies 0.6% of New Zealand’s electricity needs. This is in comparison with neighbouring Australia, where 14% of total electricity generation was from solar energy sources in 2022, according to official statistics.

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