South African renewables fund exits from 300MW portfolio

Inspired Evolution has also reached a $90m first close on a second renewable energy vehicle targeting $250m.

South African fund manager Inspired Evolution has exited from 300MW of renewable energy projects invested in by its first fund.

Evolution One, the firm’s debut $90 million renewables fund, sold its stakes in the 5MW Slimsun Swartland solar park, the 80MW Kouga wind farm and the 75MW Solar Capital De Aar project to South Africa-based TriAlpha Investment Management.

Its holding in the 138.6MW Cookhouse wind farm was divested to insurance firm Old Mutual, which was already a shareholder in the project.

The two deals now mean that Evolution One, which was launched in 2008 and was fully invested by 2014, has exited six projects. Inspired Evolution expects the remaining two to be sold by the middle of this year. After the latest sales, the firm says it has been able to return the fund’s entire capital back to its investors.

The company had not responded to queries about the fund’s IRR or its specific stakes in each of the projects at press time.

Inspired Evolution said that the fund’s successor reached a $90 million first close at the end of last year, led by cornerstone LP Quantum Power, an Africa-focused infrastructure investment platform. Evolution II’s other backers included the EIB-advised Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund, which doubled its investment from Evolution One to $21 million, the Netherland’s FMO and the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets.

A fifth unnamed LP has committed in principle and is expected to invest by early March ahead of a final $250 million close at the end of the year.

In a strategy similar to its predecessor, the 10-year closed-ended fund will be looking for significant minority or controlling equity stakes in renewables projects across sub-Saharan Africa.

Inspired Evolution was established in 2007 and has since been involved in over 913MW of renewable energy projects, predominantly in South Africa.