Foresight Solar Fund acquires 49.6 MW UK PV plant


London-headquartered renewable investment firm Foresight Solar Fund now boasts a portfolio of installed solar PV assets of 470 MW following the acquisition this week of the 49.6 MW Sandridge solar farm in Wiltshire, southern England.

In what is the firm’s second such acquisition in February 2017 – having last week finalized the purchase of the 25 MW Barcaldine solar project in Australia – Foresight Solar Fund now owns 18 individual solar assets, most in the U.K. and boasting an average capacity of 26 MW.

The Sandridge solar farm was built by German EPC Goldbeck Solar and connected to the U.K. national grid in March last year. Hence, it is eligible for Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) of 1.3 ROC/MWh. Foresight Solar Fund is in receipt of all economic benefits from the plant’s cash flow since January 1, 2017.

Foresight Solar Fund’s steady and sustained interest in solar park acquisition is a product of its cautious growth strategy, the company chairman Alex Ohlsson said.

This latest acquisition was arranged via a £55 million ($69 million) revolving credit facility with Santander Global Corporate Banking. Additional portions of the credit facility will be invested in future growth opportunities, Foresight Solar Fund said, having already identified an additional 100 MW of potential solar assets.

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Repayment of this loan will come via equity issuance this year.

“The purchase of Sandridge is in line with the Company’s cautious growth strategy, minizing the impact of cash drag for investors,” said Ohlsson. “The new credit facility was secured at attractive terms and will allow the Company to remain competitive when targeting pipeline opportunities during the course of 2017.”

Foresight Solar Fund’s 2016 financial results, published last week, revealed a healthy balance sheet that has generated attractive dividends to its shareholders. Its strategy of snapping up British solar farms developed under lucrative subsidy schemes has born fruit for the firm, driving revenues to $42.7 million last year.

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