NextEnergy in burst of solar activity

The firm has acquired the Boxted Airfield plant shortly after investing in two other solar assets last month.

Listed UK fund manager NextEnergy Solar Fund (NESF) has signed a share purchase agreement to acquire the 19.4 megawatt peak (MWp) Boxted Airfield solar power plant for up to £20.6 million (€26.3 million; $31.1 million).

The plant – located on former Royal Air Force land in Essex, England – is set to be accredited under the 1.4 Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) regime. Construction has begun on the plant but, in the event that it is not commissioned by March 2015 or does not secure 1.4 ROC regime eligibility, NESF can pull out of the deal without financial penalty.

The latest deal means NESF has now collected 11 assets accounting for a total of 124MWp. The total investment value of around £145 million is equivalent to approximately 79 percent of the equity proceeds that the firm has raised to date.

In November NESF raised £95.5 million and then, in mid-December, issued new shares worth £4.1 million, taking its market capitalisation to more than £185 million. In October, it had begun using a £31.5 million revolving credit facility provided by Macquarie Bank after it used up the £85.6 million in IPO proceeds that it had raised on the London Stock Exchange in April.

The Boxted deal comes after two solar plant acquisitions made by NESF in December. It agreed to acquire the 20.0MWp Cock Hill plant in Wiltshire for up to £23.3 million, and the 8.0MWp Llwyndu plant in Mid Wales for up to £9.4 million.