Big fish: BlackRock and Lightsource target £1bn solar portfolio by 2020


BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management fund, and solar and private wire developer Lightsource, have signed a deal to create a 1GW solar portfolio in the UK by 2020. They believe it will be worth around £1bn.

The joint venture is called Kingfisher and aims to acquire projects from developers in a bid to “consolidate the secondary solar market”.

Lightsource said it has seeded the venture with 156MW of new solar projects that have secured guaranteed subsidies under the Renewables Obligation (RO) and contract for difference (CfD) schemes. Later this year it will add 50MW of similar developments being built in Northern Ireland.

According to Lightsource, the firm “will target the acquisition of operational utility scale solar assets in the UK over a three-year period”. Both levered and unlevered buys are in the frame with RBS providing project finance.

“We’re incredibly excited about this partnership,” said Lightsource chief investment officer, Paul McCartie.

“By leveraging economies of scale, Lightsource can provide cost efficiencies and better returns as we acquire UK solar plants and operate them as part of our growing global portfolio.”

Rory O’Connor, MD and head of renewable power for Europe at BlackRock said the firm was “pleased to partner with Lightsource” and predicted further market gains.

“Over the last two years, we have invested in more than 20 solar projects in the UK representing nearly 150-megawatt of capacity on behalf of our clients, and we believe this market continues to present attractive opportunities for institutional investors.

“In working closely together with Lightsource … we are confident to realise a lot of additional potential in the market.”

See the statement here.

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