Amid finally nippy autumnal weather, solar electricity in the UK today basked under the cool, clear skies of a continuing investment boom.

As UK solar big-wigs prepare to meet from tomorrow at Birmingham’s NEC for the industry’s biggest trade show, a triple w-Amp-y of wonga – either won from investors or wanted – has left Atrato, Octopus, and NESF smiling in the space of four days.

Start-up closed end investment fund Atrato Onsite Energy, headed by Good Energy founder and former CEO Dr Juliet Davenport, confirmed on Friday a ‘significantly over-subscribed’ fund-raising float, securing with ease the £150 million its sought to adorn commercial and industrial (C&I) roofs with PV arrays.

So great was the interest, a scaling back of applications will be necessary, the new company told would-be investors in a statement.

Chairwoman Davenport declared the start-up “delighted with such strong support from a wide range of retail and institutional investors”.

Gurpreet Gujral, managing director of Atrato Partners Limited, investment advisers to the energy developers, said: “Atrato Onsite Energy plc aims to be the partner of choice for UK businesses considering rooftop solar in their plans to reach net zero”.

Targeting a gross return to shareholders of between 8% and 10%, the energy developer will see its shares listed on the LSE from tomorrow.

This morning another sun-dependent fund was tapping LSE investors. Octopus Renewables Infrastructure Trust plc came to market in quest of £73.9 million, needed to replenish working capital and an acquisitions treasure chest needed to maintain its interest in a £1.5 billion pipeline of identified projects located in seven countries from Finland to Spain.

Approximately £423 million-worth of projects are already either under option or in negotiations, ORIT said. The additional £1.1 billion are the subject of non-binding offers already made.

Up to £3 billion-worth of further projects could ‘potentially be suitable for acquisition’, ORIT said.

ORIT’s latest placing is due to close on 2 December. The firm said it had already committed capital raised in July’s over-subscribed capital raise.  By late afternoon today, its share price had risen more than 1.5%.

Completing the trio,  NextEnergy Solar Fund released strong half year financials on Friday.  Since March, the firm said, it has grown its combined generating capacity by 10% to 895 MWp, adding five more projects.

The firm claims UK leadership in power-purchase agreements longer than ten years.    Its agreements include one from a farm at South Lowfield, North Yorkshire, feeding power to beer brewer InBev for fifteen years.

NESF has also agreed to build, operate and own a portfolio of solar assets on sites operated by the Anglian Water Group. Power generated will be sold directly to Anglian under a 25-year PPA.


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