Aviva completes £76m solar deal

Aviva Investors has wrapped up the second purchase of residential solar photovoltaic assets from UK fund manager Zouk Capital.

Aviva Investors, the global asset management business of UK insurer Aviva, has completed its second major transfer of residential solar photovoltaic (PV) assets from fund manager Zouk Capital.

In July this year, Aviva acquired an 8.6-megawatt (MW) portfolio of solar PV systems, which had been installed on more than 3,200 properties across the UK, from the Zouk Solar Opportunities Ltd (ZSOL) fund.

It has now added a further 11.3MW portfolio installed on more than 3,700 properties, bringing the total to around 20MW and 6,700 properties. The two transactions have a total value of approximately £76 million (€96 million; $126 million).

The assets will go into Aviva Investors’ REaLM (Returns Enhancing and Liability Matching) Infrastructure Fund, which aims to “substantially” beat the return offered by long-dated index-linked gilts by investing in infrastructure offering secure, long-term and inflation-linked income streams.

Zouk developed and financed the ZSOL portfolio between 2011 and 2014, enabling homeowners and social housing residents to benefit from free use of the electricity generated by the solar PV systems. The portfolio ended up being one of the largest of its kind in the UK.

Freetricity, a UK firm which installed and asset managed the majority of the solar panels involved in the transaction, also sold its interests in the portfolio to Aviva.

“We see strong interest from clients in opportunities such as this, which combine Aviva Investors’ expertise and innovative approach with the underlying positive features of the assets themselves – reduced energy bills for homeowners and social housing tenants through renewable energy generation,” said Ian Berry, fund manager, infrastructure & renewable energy, at Aviva Investors, in a statement.

Advisors on the deal included Clifford Chance and Eversheds (legal), OST Energy (technical) and AgFe (financial).