Foresight to add 82MW to solar portfolio

The London-listed firm will fund acquisitions through debt facilities and proceeds from recent equity raises, the latest of which was concluded earlier in June.

Foresight Solar Fund (Foresight), a UK-listed investment company, has signed a binding contract to acquire a 30-megawatt (MW) solar farm in Nottinghamshire, in the East Midlands of England. Once operational, the plant will bring Foresight’s portfolio capacity to 263MW.

The asset is expected to qualify for the 1.3 Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) banding under the Renewable Obligation (RO) 12-month grace period for projects greater than 5MW.

Support under the RO scheme was officially scrapped for solar farms over this threshold on 1 April this year. The UK’s Energy Department, however, last year extended the grace period from three to 12 months to provide extra time for accreditation in cases where grid delays caused projects to miss the deadline.

Foresight is also in the process of negotiating acquisitions of a number of assets over which it has already secured exclusivity, according to a statement, including a 51MW operational portfolio entitled to 1.4 ROC. The firm intends to fund this upcoming deal pipeline using a combination of debt from its existing facilities and equity recently raised on the market.

Foresight’s latest fundraising effort concluded less than a couple of weeks ago, when the company collected £38.7 million (€54.4 million; $60.9 million) through the placing of 37.67 million shares.

The transaction proceeds were earmarked to repay the existing acquisition facility and enable the purchase of assets currently in the company’s pipeline. UK broker Numis Securities, however, reckoned the capital raised fell short of the first objective.

Foresight did not specify a target size for the placing, which was part of a programme that allows the company to issue up to 200 million shares in the 12 months to 25 September 2015. Around 69.2 million shares are now left.