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Equitix snaps up 40MW UK solar as £750m hard-cap nears

The acquisition boosts Equitix Fund IV’s UK solar portfolio to 60MW after it surpassed its £523m target during Q3 last year.

UK-based infrastructure fund manager Equitix has sealed the acquisition of a 40MW operating solar park in southern England from Golden Square Energy.

The Cowdown project is one of the largest of its kind in the country and was built before 31 March 2016, ensuring its eligibility for UK solar subsidies before the scheme was scrapped by the government.

Mark Heuff, a director at JLL, which advised on the acquisition, said the deal shows a “strong appetite for quality assets in spite of increasing levels of general transaction market uncertainty”.

It was part of a portfolio of 35 solar assets built by developer Golden Square Energy, a joint venture between AGR Group and Ingenious Infrastructure, which invests on behalf of both retail and institutional investors. Last month, the developer also received a £36 million (currency conversion) cash injection from the Pensions Infrastructure Platform after the latter bought 31 of its wind turbines.

This week’s acquisition was made by Equitix Fund IV, a vehicle launched in 2015 which reached a £278 million first close in July that year. According to Tetragon Financial Group, the investment manager which owns 85 percent of Equitix, the fund had surpassed its £500 million target as of the end of September 2016, securing £523 million in commitments.

Tetragon noted the fund had not yet reached final close, had a hard-cap of £750 million, and was targeting a gross IRR of 11 percent. The fund had deployed over £230 million across 14 infrastructure assets at the time, the firm added.

Equitix made its first venture into the solar sector through the vehicle in July last
year, when it bought 20MW from Chinese developer ReneSola. It also holds a group of solar assets in Italy. The acquisition of the Cowdown project doubles the fund’s UK solar portfolio.