Bluefield in UK solar spree

The energy fund manager has added five plants to its existing portfolio, taking its £130m listed vehicle to over 75% committed.

Bluefield Partners, a London-based fund manager, has bought five UK solar plants via its Solar Income Fund.

Together with the two acquisitions announced this summer by Bluefield, the new assets will bring the fund’s total commitments to around £96 million (€113 million; $153 million), representing more than 75 percent of its original size. The portfolio now has a total capacity of 83 megawatt peak (MWp).

The plants, based in East Anglia, South and Southwest England, have all been granted planning permissions and completed grid offers. One of them is already in operation, having been connected to the grid prior to April 2013. The investments will be made without using debt.

Bluefield is currently in advanced negotiations to acquire another £175 million of assets qualifying for Renewable Obligation Certificates, the financial incentive developed by the UK to increase the proportion of renewables in the energy mix. The firm anticipates it will fund the transactions through fresh equity issuance.

Launched in 2009, Bluefield is led by James Armstrong, Mike Rand and Giovanni Terranova, formerly executives at UK private equity and infrastructure fund manager Foresight Group. It raised £130 million for its maiden solar fund in July 2013 through an IPO on the London Stock Exchange, easily exceeding its minimum target of £75 million.

The fund featured a cornerstone commitment from CCLA Investment Management, the UK’s largest investor on behalf of charities and benevolent societies. It targets a dividend of 4 pence per ordinary share for its first financial year – ending 30 June 2014 – and 7 pence per share for the following one.