Infracapital eyes 500MW with greenfield solar JV

M&G Investments’ infrastructure arm is eyeing projects in France, UK and Ireland with Amarenco as a key part of its £1bn greenfield fund.

UK-based investment manager Infracapital has launched a joint venture alongside Irish solar developer Amarenco as it seeks to revive the European greenfield solar market.

The pair are set to develop new solar projects in France, the UK and Ireland. They have already announced their first investment, in three French assets accounting for a combined 75MW. With a targeted lifespan of about five years, the deal is expected to procure about 500MW of mostly new capacity.

The Amarenco Infracapital Renewable Investments platform will seek to build on both the Irish firm’s strong domestic presence and in France, where it owns 75MW of operating assets. While Ireland currently does not host any utility-scale solar projects, the government is set to announce its first solar policy imminently, which Amarenco has been closely involved with. In 2015 the company also received a €180 million injection from Macquarie Capital for its Irish projects.

A source told Infrastructure Investor that AIRI’s activity in the UK market will be focused more on secondary opportunities following the removal of subsidies for large-scale projects. The source added that the AIRI venture is set to be a core asset in Infracapital’s £1 billion ($1.2 billion; €1.1 billion) greenfield fund launched last year.

Infracapital and Amarenco will hope their partnership can provide a welcome boost to the European solar market, which has suffered in recent years from government curtailments and expensive panel prices. According to trade body SolarPower Europe, the last available figures indicate an 18 percent year-on-year fall in installations in the first nine months of 2016.