Solar photovoltaics’ progress to ousting planet-cooking hydrocarbon from electricity generation advanced still further this week, exemplified today by Bluefield Solar Income Fund.

The investment vehicle chaired by John Scott announced its purchase from American owners Fengate Asset Management of two UK farms, totalling 46.4 MWp. Their enterprise value is £56 million.

The portfolio comprises the 39.3 MWp Ravengate fields of light near Scunthorpe, and 7.1 MWp Roanhead installation near Barrow-in-Furness.  Both sites collect long-term subsidy at 1.4 ROCs.

Purchase of the sites drives Bluefield’s UK-focussed portfolio to 813MWp. The investor’s gearing ticks up three points, to 40% of gross asset value. Today its net asset value was quoted as £858.4 million.

Chairman Scott commented: “We are delighted to have acquired this high-quality portfolio of operating assets from Fengate Asset Management. It includes a high proportion of contracted and regulated revenues, and so represents a natural complement to the company’s significant development pipeline of new build solar and storage projects”.

In the year to June 2022, Bluefield bought £320 million of PV generation & storage assets, raised over £225 million in new equity, and had 800 MWp of arrays & 300 MW of batteries in development.

Last week, it was revealed that 12 proposed PV farms all bigger than 50MWp are being evaluated by the Planning Inspectorate of England. Joining them will be the renewables arm of German thermal generator RWE.

If approved, RWE’s gargantuan 600MWp design will straddle the Lincs-Yorkshire border at Tween Bridge, filling in land already occupied by RWE’s 44MWp wind farm & a grid interconnection point.

Also in solar, UK-controlled mega-investor Octopus yesterday extended its PV interests in Spain, and made its debut in Portuguese PV.

Retailing in Spain since August 2021, Greg Jackson’s combine yesterday took an undisclosed stake – via its £200 million Octopus Energy Development Partnership  in Madrid-based developer FF New Energy Ventures.

Founded in 2018, and with activities as distant as Argentina, FFNEV will use Octopus’ money to light its 2.1GW pipeline, around 80% of it comprising solar-with-battery target sites.  Wind, including floating offshore structures, makes up the rest.

With more than half its power already generated carbon-free, Portugal boasts 2GW of operating solar, but an upside remains. This year the government signalled intentions to advance solar and wind towards 80% power penetration, and as early as 2026.

Launched three months ago, the OEDP already boasts projects in England & Italy. More are promised. The international fund is managed under the auspices of Octopus Energy Generation

CEO Zoisa North-Bond commented: “Now more than ever before, we need to build more green power to help reduce gas reliance and bring down energy bills. Investments like this deal with FFNEV will help make a difference quickly.

“This latest news is only the beginning for us – as we’ve got big plans in this part of Europe.”


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