DIF adds to solar portfolio

The fund manager has bought two UK solar plants backed by 25 years of RPI-linked feed-in tariffs.

Dutch fund manager DIF has clinched two more assets for its third infrastructure fund with the purchase of two UK solar plants, it announced last week. 

DIF said it bought the Springhill and Islip solar photovoltaic plants for an undisclosed sum from a consortium of private investors led by Peter Davies, the chief executive of solar energy operator Axiom Energy Group. The plants are respectively located near Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire, in England. 

Each has an installed capacity of 5 megawatts and benefit from 25-years of RPI-linked feed-intariffs. RPI stands for Retail Price Index and is a common inflation indicator. The two projects, commissioned by the UK government in 2011, are backed by senior debt from RBS and subordinated debt from UK construction firm Stepnell Limited. 

The Dutch fund manager, which already owns a number of solar assets in France, said it is on the lookout for further solar assets backed by feed-intariffs across Canada, the UK and France. In south-east France, DIF owns a 35 percent stake in Solaire Durance, a 34MW portfolio of four operational ground-mounted solar assets. 

Earlier this year, DIF also announced an increase in ownership in a portfolio of 10 Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects to 90 percent. The portfolio included street lightning, schools, courts and a road maintenance project. 

DIF Infrastructure III closed on €800 million towards the end of March, beating a €750 million hard cap. DIF has raised €1.6 billion of equity since inception and invests in public-private partnership (PPP)/PFI and renewable energy assets in Europe and North America.