Northleaf and WHEB in solar joint venture

The Canadian asset manager and its London-based partner are part of a growing cohort of fund managers deploying capital in UK solar.

Toronto-based Northleaf Capital Partners has acquired a 50 percent stake in a rooftop solar portfolio held by WHEB Infrastructure, an energy-focused asset manager which is part of the UK’s WHEB Group.

The partners intend to jointly pursue the expansion of the existing pool of assets, along with developing a pipeline of additional installations expected to become operational by early 2014.

“This portfolio of solar energy generation assets offers predictable, long-term, inflation-linked forecast returns from high quality renewable energy assets,” said Tom Williams, a partner at WHEB Infrastructure, in a statement.

The firms join a growing pool of asset managers enticed by opportunities in UK solar, which has been rendered attractive by supportive pricing schemes, cheaper technologies and the lack of alternative options to generate high returns without sacrificing long-term, stable yield.

Earlier this week, Bluefield Solar Income Fund bought its eighth solar farm, bringing the amount it has deployed to 85 percent of the £130 million (€158 million; $216 million) IPO proceeds it collected six months ago.

This came after a handful of notable deals in December, such as Quercus Asset Selection’s £300 million acquisition of 21 UK photovoltaic plants and The Renewable Investment Group’s purchase of 12 megawatts (MW) worth of solar assets.

Northleaf has been exploring renewables opportunities in other markets. The firm acquired a 75 percent stake in Australia’s Waterloo wind farm, along with Palisade Investment Partners, for AUD$228 million (€146 million; $200 million) last May.