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SUSI bets on Italian solar sector by launching a new platform

While the country’s solar PV market has experienced slower growth in recent years, the Swiss firm expects that to change as Italy aims to reduce emissions 33% by 2030.

SUSI Partners has teamed up with a clean energy developer to launch a solar PV platform in Italy to develop, build and operate utility-scale solar projects in the country.

The Swiss firm, which focuses exclusively on clean energy and energy transition, will work with the developer’s management team to create a platform with a total capacity of 500MW. SUSI declined to name its new partner, citing a confidentiality agreement. “But [we] should be able to disclose this in a couple of months,” a spokesman told Infrastructure Investor.

“While the Italian solar PV market experienced slower growth following the expiration of government incentives after 2013, a new expansion phase is expected throughout the 2020s, as the country gears up to meet 2030 emission reduction targets,” the firm said in a statement.

According to a European Parliament briefing, Italy had reduced its emissions by 13 percent by 2020 compared with 2005 and is aiming to reduce them by 33 percent by 2030. The country expects to triple its production of solar energy and double its production of energy from wind by 2030.

This latest investment is the fifth SUSI is making through its Energy Transition Fund, an open-end fund that  had raised €300 million as of July 2020. Additional fundraising rounds are targeted for later this year, SUSI’s spokesman said.

The announcement comes less than a month after SUSI partnered with another local developer in Poland to launch Luneos Green Energy, a platform that will target the buildout of a diversified portfolio of wind and solar PV assets.

The other three investments made through SETF include the acquisition of a controlling stake in Italian energy efficiency platform Genera Energy; a 50 percent stake in Starling New Energy, an Australian distributed energy platform; and Energias Renovables Chile, the result of a partnership with developer BIWO Renovables and its commercial partner Latsolar Energy Investments, which saw SUSI acquire a 200MW+ portfolio of distributed renewable energy assets in Chile.

“All of these are platform investments targeting the acquisition and buildout of a specific asset base over time,” the spokesman explained. “This model has been deliberately selected for these investments, given the evergreen nature of the fund and our resulting ability to be a long-term and valuable investor for our partners, supporting their growth and providing long-term capital certainty, subject to predefined investment criteria.

“Between the five investments made to date, we currently expect to at least deploy the fund’s capital raised to date over the near- to mid-term.”