NextEnergy reaches deal for UK solar plant

The listed NextEnergy Solar Fund has struck an £18m agreement for Suffolk’s Ellough facility and is now almost three-quarters allocated.

The listed NextEnergy Solar Fund (NESF) has signed an agreement to purchase a special purpose vehicle (SPV) owning the Ellough solar power plant in Suffolk, England.

The plant was commissioned in March this year and has been operational since then. Assuming that Ellough will gain accreditation under the 1.4 Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) regime, NESF will acquire the SPV for up to £18 million (€22.8 million; $30.6 million).

The plant was identified as part of NESF’s “core shortlist” of assets when it completed an initial public offering (IPO) in April this year. In a statement, the fund said that the acquisition will be on a full equity basis and that it will account for about 21 percent of the proceeds raised at IPO under the 1.4 regime.

However, the fund points out the possibility that the asset may be acquired under the 1.6 ROC regime, in which case NESF will pay an additional consideration with a total value of as much as £19.4 million. The final ruling on which regime will apply is expected next month.

NESF has now allocated 73 percent of its IPO proceeds in the three months since it listed. In a statement, chairman Kevin Lyon said he expected “further acquisitions to be announced shortly allowing us to deploy substantially all of the capital raised to date”.

NESF raised £85.6 million from its IPO in April, having initially targeted £150 million. The fundraising took place amid an apparent tapering of investor interest for listed renewable vehicles, a number of which fell short of their initial fundraising targets. However, NESF is hoping to grow to £750 million over the next three to five years.