Foresight Solar Fund to pursue international strategy

Foresight Solar Fund undertook two significant acquisitions in the first half of 2017 – the 72 MW Shotwick Solar Farm, and the 50 MW Sandridge solar farm. With these acquisitions, the group’s portfolio now consists of 18 assets with a total capacity of 470 MW.

Foresight reported GBP 11.5 million in profit after tax for the period, and a 1.7% increase in net asset value per ordinary share (NAV) from GBP 1.029 on December 31st, 2016, to GBP 1.046 as of June 30th, 2017. NAV had fallen by 0.7% compared with the end of March 2017, however, with a reduction in short to medium term power prices cited as the cause.

The company said it was able to take advantage of strong market demand, and raise an additional GBP 78.5 million in equity capital during the first half of the year, exceeding its target of GBP 50 million.

Outlook for the rest of the year is positive, in spite of some challenges, with plans for acquisitions in new markets as well. “As the solar industry becomes increasingly competitive, acquiring assets at attractive prices is becoming more challenging,” states Chairman Alex Ohlsson. “However, Foresight Solar Fund Limited continues to make asset purchases at attractive valuations and sees significant opportunities in the UK secondary solar market, as well as other developed countries with stable currencies.”

In his Chairman’s statement, Ohlsson identifies “Australia, the USA and other European countries” as targets for new acquisitions, and says that the fund is reviewing a large number of potential future acquisitions. “The investment manager is actively reviewing a pipeline of more than 500 MW of potential investments in the UK and other international markets.”

The firm’s solar projects generated 223.5 GWh during the first half of the year, which was 8% below its expectations, Ohlsson states that this was “mainly attributable to specific and isolated operational issues,” and explains that “The issues identified early on by the asset manager are currently being rectified and are not expected to impact the long-term performance of the assets.”

Compensation received from EPC contractors for lost production amounted to around GBP 3 million, which reduces the 8% shortfall to 1.9%.