NextEnergy preps 350m share issue to fund 560MW pipeline

The London-listed firm said it has already received an offer from an institutional investor for a quantum of shares valued at £55m.

UK-based investment vehicle NextEnergy Solar Fund is eyeing a short-term pipeline of 560MW of solar assets to be funded via the imminent issue of 350 million new shares.

The firm said it has already submitted letters of intent or entered advanced negotiations for about 130MW of the assets it targets. It added that the wider pipeline largely features projects that are either in operation, with 1.3 banding support from the UK’s Renewables Obligation (RO) subsidy scheme, or in the pre-construction phase, with 1.2
banding support.

Subsidies for greenfield solar assets in the UK end in March 2017.

The proposed acquisition spree is set to be funded by NESF issuing up to 350 million new shares, a move approved by its shareholders earlier this month. It added that one institutional investor has already signalled its intention to buy a chunk of the capital on offer valued at £55 million ($67 million; €61.1 million). The issuance, and the release of further pricing details, will occur in November in what NESF described as a “favourable market”.

Other UK-listed renewables funds have made similar moves of late, with Bluefield and Foresight respectively raising £60.6 million and £31.9 million in new and tap share issuances over the last two weeks. As with NESF, both funds stated the imminent closure of the RO as their prime motivation for raising funds, with Foresight revealing it expects to seal UK solar deals totalling 82MW by the end of the year.

NESF owned 33 solar plants in the UK with a cumulative capacity of 413.7MW, representing a total investment of £481.4 million, as of June 2016.