Quercus: Summer boost for UK solar sector after flurry of financing deals
The UK’s solar power sector enjoyed a significant boost this week with three separate financing deals announced by Cubico Sustainable Investments, Primrose Solar and Quercus.
The news came as Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd this week sought to reassure green investors that the government remained commited to the renewable energy sector in the wake of UK voter’s last week opting to leave the European Union.
Renewables investor Cubico yesterday announced the acquisition of 10 operational solar projects in the UK, totalling 65MW in capacity, from developer British Solar Renewables (BSR).
Although principally located in the south west, the acquired portfolio of solar projects also includes Scotland’s largest solar park in County Angus.
As part of the deal, BSR will remain actively involved with the solar parks as operations and maintenance provider.
Cubico has also closed the financing of eight of the acquired solar parks under a portfolio financing facility with National Australia Bank, with the further two parks expected to enter the facility shortly. The deal takes the total debt to 60m on the total acquired BSR portfolio.
Overall, the acquisition brings Cubico’s renewables portfolio to 29 assets in eight countries with a total gross capacity across wind, solar and water infrastructure of 1,900MW.
“This acquisition adds to our growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the UK, which is now our second largest market globally,” said head of EMEA at Cubico, David Swindin. “The transaction with BSR was completed swiftly and we now look forward to enjoying a close relationship with the company.”
The news came as Primrose Solar agreed a 42m debt financing deal with Deutsche Bank in order to refinance its 49MW Eveley solar farm in Hampshire, with the funds to be loaned on an 18-24 month term.
Primrose acquired the full project rights to the Eveley project in December last year from PS Renewables, before the solar farm was connected to the grid in March.
Eveley is one of the largest privately-owned solar farms in the world, according to Primrose, and will generate enough power to supply the equivalent of 15,000 homes, saving around 21,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.
Primrose Solar CEO, Giles Clark, said: “This shows that the UK solar industry is capable of delivering world class projects to high quality and a tight timetable.”
Meanwhile, debt financing for three solar PV plans in Chichester, Swindon and Stratford-upon-Avon was announced by Quercus Assets Selection, with bank Santander UK proving 13.6m over a 10 year period.
Situated in Sidlesham, Stanton and Burton the plants have a combined total capacity of 21.3MW and the transaction places all three under the ownership of Quercus’s holding company.
All three solar projects were connected to the grid in May 2015 and accredited under the Renewables Obligation scheme for 20 years. Their combined annual electricity production totals 21GWh, which is enough to power almost 5,000 homes and save over 9,000 tonnes of CO2.
“We remain constantly focused on delivering clean energy to the UK customer through our local renewable energy plants,” said Diego Biasi, CEO and co-founder of Quercus. “We are very happy to partner with Santander and to have negotiated a vital and mutually beneficial deal to optimize our investors’ returns on these three plants.”