Triodos Bank has provided some £3 million in project finance to Danish Better Energy for a 5MW ground-mounted solar farm in Creswell, Derbyshire on the site of a former coal mine. The bank and Danish firm have plans to build and finance up to 50MW of solar PV in the UK this year.
The project was commissioned in time to beat closure of the Renewables Obligation (RO) subsidy scheme last March, so will qualify for 1.3 Renewables Obligation Certificates (Rocs) for every megawatt hour produced and will also generate revenue through a power purchase agreement (PPA).
Danish Better Energy funded the project with equity and climate bonds in addition to the Triodos Bank loan. Legal advisors for the transaction were Bird & Bird and Eversheds. Technical advisors for the transaction were K&S Ingenieurpartnerschaft Krug & Schram.
Tridios and Better Energy said the scheme was the first of a number of similar UK solar investments, with plans to finance a further 20-50MW ground-mounted solar in 2017.
Despite changes to solar subsidies, that suggests investor appetite for UK solar PV remains strong.
“We are delighted to finance this ground-mounted solar project, which is the first of a portfolio of similar UK solar projects that we are working on with Better Energy. It’s encouraging that international organisations such as Better Energy are investing in UK renewables, and we look forward to collaborating on future projects,” said Stirling Habbitts, of Triodos Bank UK.
Installed UK solar capacity reached 11.5GW in 2016, increasing by almost a fifth on the previous year. Around 1.1GW of UK solar was commissioned in March 2016 as developers rushed to secure subsidy rates.
According to the government’s Renewable Energy Planning database, there is 14.526GW of solar PV either operational or in the planning stage.
Just five years ago, at the end of 2011, total UK solar PV capacity stood at 750MW.