Foresight returns to the UK with £36.6m solar deal

The fund has bought a 53.3MW portfolio in its first transaction for assets based in the country for 14 months.

Foresight Solar Fund has secured its first UK-based deal since February last year with the acquisition of a 53.3MW portfolio worth £36.6 million ($51.5 million; €41.9 million).

The deal includes a portfolio of five solar parks all commissioned in 2015 and benefiting from under the UK’s subsidy system. They were all bought from UK-based developer Belltown Power.

Included in the transaction is a 0.5MW wind farm, comprised of a single wind turbine which Foresight said “was a necessary part of the transaction”. A Foresight spokesman told Infrastructure Investor that the turbine was located on the same site as one of the solar farms but is classed as a different asset. The fund would be looking to sell the turbine on “pretty quickly”, he said, given wind does not form part of its investment mandate.

The portfolio, including the wind turbine, is backed by a £45 million debt facility provided by Macquarie Infrastructure Debt Investment Solutions in 2015. The balance outstanding is £31.8 million and has a remaining tenure of 16 years.

Following this transaction, Foresight Solar Fund’s portfolio comprises 27 solar assets with a combined generating capacity of 674MW, some 528.3MW of which is based in the UK, with the remainder in Australia. Its previous UK deal was in February 2017 with the acquisition of the 49.6MW Sandridge site. It has since focused on Australia, acquiring 146MW of solar assets.

While Foresight has insisted its focus is “predominantly in the UK market”, it stated in its annual report released in February that the Australian market potentially offers higher returns compared with the UK.