Sonnedix makes €201m financial close for Italian solar expansion

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Independent power producer (IPP) Sonnedix says it has further solidified its presence in Italy’s solar market. The JP Morgan Asset Management-owned company said it had closed non-recourse financing amounting to €201.6 million for its Italian operations.

An initial slice of funding will provide debt service reserve and long-term facilities to refinance 41 solar projects with a total installed generation capacity of 61.8 MW spread across Italy.

Sonnedix chose the Milan Branch bank as lender and mandated lead arranger. Banca IMI S.p.A. – the investment bank of Intesa group – was agent and Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A. was the account bank. Banco Santander, S.A.; Milan Branch; ING Bank N.V.; Mediocredito Italiano S.p.A. (Intesa Sanpaolo Group); and Natixis S.A. were also involved in the non-recourse funding.

Sonnedix reports now having 186 MW in operation in Italy in 2019, up from the company’s previous announcement of 181 MW of solar PV capacity in the market at the beginning of the year.

“This financing will enable us to continue to invest in the development and acquisition of new plants in Italy, where we remain very active,” said Axel Thiemann, CEO of Sonnedix. “We continue to build strong relationships with our lending banks – both international and local – as we develop, acquire, own, and operate assets for the long term across our global portfolio.”

Sonnedix says it received legal advisory services by Norton Rose Fulbright, financial insights by ValeCap, corporate and tax related consulting by RSM Studio Palea Lauri Gerla, Riverside Risk Advisors acted as the hedging advisor, and GMB Finance. The lenders were legally advised by international law firm Ashurst LLP, technically advised by Duff & Phelps REAG S.p.A., with KPMG providing tax and model auditing, and Marsh S.p.A. offering its insurance services.

The market in Italy has been kicked back into life in 2019. In January, the IPP announced to have acquired a 53 MW portfolio in Italy from Graziella Green Power S.p.A. In February the country topped 20 GW of installed PV capacity. Sonnedix’s acquisition occurred the same month that Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) set a new National Integrated Plan for Climate and Energy 2030, with a goal of hosting 50 GW of PV by 2050. With eleven years to go and 30 GW left to install, Italy could return to the gigawatt club rather soon.

Earlier this month, MISE also announced details about the country’s upcoming and long anticipated PV auctions. On September 30, 2019, the ministry plans to allocate 500 MW of new capacity, with three additional procurement rounds occurring in early 2020, each of which will have a 700 MW allocation. Later in 2020, another three auctions for 800 MW each will be held.