Quercus snaps up 18.4MW solar from KKR-backed firm

The move, made alongside Swiss Life, lifts the firm into the top five solar operators in Italy, owning a portfolio of 143.5MW.

UK-based asset manager Quercus has bought six solar plants in Italy with a combined capacity of 18.4MW as part of its joint venture with Swiss Life.

The pair bought the projects from X-Elio, a company 80 percent owned by KKR Infrastructure following investment from the $3.1 billion KKR Global Infrastructure Investors II fund last year.

The acquisition was made through the Azienda Solare Italiana platform bought by Quercus and Swiss Life from Antin in December 2015. They raised €131 million in January this year to refinance assets held by ASI and the group has now added 25.5MW to the portfolio which held 77MW when sold by Antin.

It also increases Quercus’s overall Italian solar portfolio to 143.5MW, the fifth-largest in the country after the latest deal. The firm sits behind Enel and F2i’s joint venture EF Solare (360MW), Terra Firma’s RTR (332MW), Capital Stage (159MW) and the Tages Helios fund (157MW).

“With this transaction, Quercus now exceeds 100MW of installed photovoltaic capacity in Italy and over 300MW of investments in different renewable energy technologies in Europe,” said Diego Biasi, chief executive of Quercus. “We will continue to invest in Italy by acquiring existing plants that guarantee visibility of production potential and immediate reliable cash flows for our investors.”

Future investments in the country are likely to arise from two of three funds the company is currently raising after their launch in late 2015. Quercus is looking to garner a combined €500 million for its Quercus Italian Solar fund, Quercus Italian Wind fund and Quercus European Renewables. The two Italian vehicles are targeting €150 million each, while the latter is seeking €200 million. A collective €150 million first close was held in December for the funds looking at returns between 8 percent and 11 percent.