Foresight signs €50m Italian solar deals

UK-based clean technology-focused private equity firm Foresight Group has agreed two deals worth a combined €50m for 10 megawatts of solar projects in Italy using its European Solar Fund and bank debt.

Foresight Group has signed two contracts worth a combined €50 million for the construction of 10 megawatts of solar photovoltaic projects in Italy.

The clean technology-focused investor will use its European Solar Fund, which is targeting €50 million but has not yet closed, to make the investments. Financing facilities from two unnamed banks will also be included in the funding package, the firm said.

Both solar projects will be situated in Puglia, Southern Italy, and are being constructed by solar farm companies Enerqos and Ecoware, part of Kerself Group.

The plants will benefit from the 2009 Italian government-backed conto energia tariff, a subsidised scheme that pays 2.5 times the cost of commercial energy to efficient generators and is fixed for the next 20 years.

“The solar infrastructure market is experiencing rapid growth and continues to attract strong interest from investors and operators…We expect to announce several more deals in the coming months,” Giovanna Terranova, who joined Foresight as investment director in January, said in a statement.

Foresight is headquartered in Kent, South East England, but opened an Italian office in November last year to raise its Solar Fund. Terranova is the third investment professional to join the Rome team.

Last week, Foresight was awarded the ‘Investor of the Year’ award at the Rosenblatt New Energy Awards, beating BlackRock, HgCapital and Invesco to win the award, which seeks to recognise the investor or investing institution that did the most to help renewable energy prosper and progress in 2008.

Established in 1984, the firms’ focus changed from more traditional venture capital investing to renewables and cleantech in 2007. It now has £200 million under management across private equity funds, enterprise investment schemes and venture capital trusts.