NextEnergy fund now almost 50% invested

The UK-listed NextEnergy Solar Fund has added another solar plant to its portfolio in a £15m deal.

The NextEnergy Solar Fund (NESF) has signed a share purchase agreement (SPA) to acquire a special purpose vehicle with construction rights for the Bilsham Solar Power Plant in Sussex, England.

Bilsham, which has been acquired for up to £15 million (€19 million; $26 million), comprises a 12.5-megawatt (MW) phase one and a 2.5MW phase two. The SPA signed by NextEnergy covers phase one of the plant.

Bilsham will be constructed under an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract under which the first phase is expected to achieve peak annual capacity (PAC) by mid-August this year.

The plant, which was acquired on an equity-only basis, was identified in NESF’s prospectus as a “core shortlist” asset when the fund was listed on the London Stock Exchange in April this year.

The IPO raised £85.6 million for the fund, which had originally targeted £150 million when it announced its intention to float in January. The listing came at a time when investors’ appetite for listed renewables seemed to ebb, as the sector reached a relative degree of saturation and its early backers wanted to see the results of their investment before committing additional capital.

Following the Bilsham deal, around 47 percent of the IPO proceeds will have been invested across four assets comprising approximately 34MW. The latest deal comes swiftly on the heels of the purchase of the 9.4MWp (megawatt peak) Gover Farm solar plant in Cornwall, England for up to £10.5 million in late June.

NextEnergy previously said it intends to return to market several times over the next year to fund future acquisitions and that it is targeting a total size of £750 million over the next three to five years.