NextEnergy hits second close on Italian vehicle amid new $750m fund launch

NextPower II has invested across 45 solar sites in Italy, but its successor will have a global reach.

London-based fund manager NextEnergy Capital has reached a second close on its Italy-focused NextPower II fund, while it begins to fundraise for the vehicle’s $750 million global successor.

The new commitment has added €34 million to the €150 million provided to the fund in June 2016 by Prudential. NextPower II has so far invested across 45 solar projects in Italy, worth €330 million, with a total capacity of 86MW. The group said upon the fund’s launch it aims to have an investment value of about €1 billion. It is unclear how much capital it is looking to raise for Fund II and a spokesman had not responded to a request for comment by the time of publication.

The second close follows the launch of NextPower III, a new fund with a target size of $750 million. The vehicle will seek global investments in utility-scale solar projects, the firm’s founding partner and chief executive Michael Bonte-Friedheim remarked at Infrastructure Investor’s Global Summit in Berlin last month.

The new vehicle will target construction-stage assets and NextEnergy Capital said it has numerous project agreements across multiple jurisdictions in place. NextPower II will continue to invest in operational projects in Italy while NextPower III is fundraising.

NextEnergy Capital’s London-listed solar fund is also active in the Italian space, agreeing its first deal there in November worth €131.9 million. The acquisition of 34.5MW by the NextEnergy Solar Fund secured the first non-UK assets in the fund’s 539MW portfolio after its board agreed to allow the fund to invest up to 15 percent of its gross asset value in OECD countries outside the UK. NESF cited to the market “increasing price pressures” caused by new market entrants in the UK as its reasons for expansion.