Solar activity burst continues with Foresight refinancing

The UK-listed fund, which plans to use the proceeds to fund further acquisitions, expects to repay the new facility through fresh equity issuance or long-term debt raising.

Foresight Solar Fund (Foresight), a London-listed renewables-focused vehicle, has refinanced its acquisition facility and added an extra £20 million (€27.8 million; $29.9 million) to the original £100 million pot of liquidity.

The new debt package comprises a £100 million, three-year facility and a £20 million, one-year facility, priced at 225 basis points (bps) and 185 bps over LIBOR respectively. The liquidity was raised through UK bank RBS and Spanish lender Santander.

The proceeds will be used to acquire further operational solar farms, the fund said in a statement. It expects to repay the new facility by issuing fresh equity – as part of a £200 million placing programme running until September 2015, through which it has already raised £96.2 million – and/or refinancing it through a long-term debt facility.

Foresight today also announced a 2.2 megawatt-peak (MWp) extension to its Wymeswold plant in Leicestershire, UK, at a total cost of £1.8 million. Connected to the grid since March 2013, Wymeswold was the first operational plant acquired by the fund in November 2013. It previously had a capacity of 32.2MWp.

The deal comes at a time of heated activity by UK-listed solar funds, after a year that saw the market pause for breath.

NextEnergy Solar Fund, another London-based vehicle, earlier this week spent the last of the capital it raised since its 2014 IPO through acquiring two new assets for up to £54.7 million. That came after a similar announcement by Bluefield Solar Income Fund, which exhausted the £131 million it collected last November through a £56.5 million plant purchase at the end of last month.

A week before, The Renewables Infrastructure Group, a public vehicle focused on onshore wind and solar, bumped up the aggregate size of its latest share issue by £32.5 million to raise a maximum of £102.25 million.