A team of legal advisors and renewable energy experts contributed to an Open Solar Contracts Initiative to accelerate the deployment of solar power worldwide.
The open source project was initiated by the Terrawatt Initiative (TWI) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in 2016.
Baker McKenzie, along with other law firms, technical advisers and various renewable energy industry players, contributed to the drafting of the suite of solar contract documentation on a pro bono basis.
The project, which provides a package of open source, standardised contracts that help to reduce the complexity and increase the efficiency of solar power transactions globally, has now been finalised.
Why open source solar contracts are needed
According to IRENA, the Initiative aimed “to streamline and scale up the global development and financing of solar projects, to contribute to meeting the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.”
Jen Stolp, Partner at Baker McKenzie who led the team, says: “This project aims to make the contracting for solar projects cost-efficient, in line with international best practice, and remove barriers to entry for smaller developers and particularly those in developing countries.”
She added: “It was an honour to collaborate with colleagues worldwide on this innovative project, which we believe will improve the quality, speed and efficiency of solar energy transactions globally.”
The Baker McKenzie team also included Global Co-Head of Renewables, Marc Fevre, and senior associates Graham Richmond, Mike Webb, Bridgett Majola and Chantel van Zyl.
Fevre explains that despite the dramatic fall in the cost of photovoltaic technology in recent years, transaction costs remain high.
“Many of the risk allocation principles required to successfully implement solar PV projects at scale are the same around the world, and the hope is that the Open Solar Contracts Initiative will go some way to facilitating the further deployment of solar projects to the still significant portion of the world’s population without access to affordable and reliable electricity,” Fevre said.
Access the One Solar Contracts here
Guiding Africa’s climate change targets
On behalf of the IRENA, members of the law firm’s renewable energy group also developed a guide for policymakers from African countries on the implementation of the renewable energy elements of their nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
In 2016, the firm’s Africa energy team won the African Legal Awards Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources Team of the Year award, for their role in putting together this guide to help African economies meet their climate change targets.
The guide comprised a five-step framework for policymakers to convert climate targets into domestic policies, strategies and implementation plans. It also detailed how private and public sector funding could be incentivised and implemented to aid in meeting their targets.