Aquila acquires six French solar farms

The 57MWp portfolio will add to the 113MWp capacity the Hamburg-based firm’s photovoltaic investments already represent in the country.

Aquila Capital, the German-based alternative asset manager, has bought a portfolio of six photovoltaic parks in France.

Located in the Aquitaine region, near Bordeaux, the plants have a combined capacity of 57 megawatt-peak (MWp). They are connected to the grid and benefit from France’s 2011 feed-in tariff regime, according to which they will sell their output on a long-term tariff of 11.08 cents per kilowatt hour.

The assets will add to the 113MWp of photovoltaic power capacity Aquila currently manages in the country. The firm also has a 242MWp portfolio of solar investments in Germany.

Aquila bills itself as one of the three largest financial investors in the European photovoltaic market, with transactions to this date totalling about 462MWp.

A study by the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance recently found that photovoltaic parks were the most sought-after assets in the renewable energy segment last year, posting a 25 percent increase in investments on the previous 12 months.

Nearly 42 percent of the $149.6 billion invested in the sector in 2014, the report noted, originated from private market asset financing.

The solar transaction comes three weeks after the firm launched what it claims is the world’s first dedicated European hydropower fund for institutional investors. The vehicle aims to deliver an internal rate of return (IRR) of between 7 and 9 percent, long-term stable cash yields, low volatility and a performance free from reliance on government subsidies.

As of 31 March 2015, Aquila managed €485 million of assets in the sector. The firm’s hydro portfolio has a total generating capacity of 922 gigawatt hours.