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BlackRock agrees double UK solar swoop

The acquisitions were made through the Renewable Income UK fund, which reached a £637m second close last year and is expected to re-open imminently.

BlackRock has agreed the purchase of two solar farms in the UK with a combined capacity of 17MW from German developer ib vogt.

The deal comprises the 12MW Ardleigh project and the 5MW Drakelow solar farm, the latter of which has been partially built on the site of a now demolished coal-fired power station. Both projects have been operational since March 2016, ensuring their eligibility for the UK’s support system for large-scale solar projects before subsidies were withdrawn that month.

“We continue to see the UK as an attractive market for wind and solar assets where BlackRock invested in more than 45 projects,” said Rory O’Connor, managing director and head of renewable power for Europe at BlackRock.

The firm secured the two solar farms through its Renewable Income UK fund. The vehicle held a first close at £500 million ($621.4 million; €588.9 million) in December 2014, while a second close in June last year enabled RI-UK to reach £637 million, some £500 million of which has been invested in 37 wind and solar assets. These are in line to deliver an expected 6 percent yield, according to a quarterly update by BlackRock for Q3 last year.

A further update for Q4 released by BlackRock said the fund is 87 percent invested and that the firm is expecting to re-open the fund again. BlackRock could not be reached for further comment before press time.

As of the end of last year, the firm had $2.8 billion of equity assets under management across its wider renewables investment platforms. It surpassed its initial €500 million target to close its Renewable Income Europe fund in August last year on €650 million, while $601 million has so far been secured for its Global Renewable Power II fund.