Basalt begins 100MW Italian solar chase

An initial 30 sites have been acquired by the new platform, with further deals slated for later in the year.

UK-based Basalt Infrastructure Partners has set up a new Italian solar platform, aiming to buy an initial 100MW of assets.

The firm has established Mareccio Energia, which it said is supported by local management team LCF Alliance and its operating partner Belectric.

The vehicle will look to acquire operational small-scale solar plants across the country, which has over 19GW of installed capacity. Mareccio has already agreed deals for about 30 sites and Basalt said further deals are planned before the year-end. Basalt declined to state the size of the initial 30 projects.

A 100MW Italian portfolio would place Basalt among the 10-largest solar asset owners in the country, a list that includes the likes of F2i, Cubico and Terra Firma.

“We are excited by the opportunity to establish this scalable platform as it enables us to aggregate assets in what is a very fragmented market,” said Rob Gregor, managing partner of Basalt Infrastructure Partners.

The investment is being made through the company’s Basalt Infrastructure Partners II fund, which launched towards the end of last year with a targeted size of $1 billion and a $1.3 billion hard-cap. It aims to invest in mid-market energy, transport and utility assets in Europe and North America and last month made its first investment, taking a 90 percent stake in Detroit Renewable Energy.

The firm’s first instalment came when Basalt was part of Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners and raised $618 million in July 2014. Its portfolio included solar investments in both the UK and US. The pair separated last July last, with the Kuwaiti Wafra Investment Advisory Group taking Balfour Beatty’s stake in the fund.