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UK-China solar partnership has 400MW pipeline in place

  • Li Keqiang and David Cameron announcing the deal
    Li Keqiang and David Cameron announcing the deal. Source: Flickr/Number10.

The £400 million partnership between Chinese module manufacturer ZNShine and UK installer MAP Environmental already has a 400MW pipeline to work on.

The deal was announced as part of a raft of trade deals between the UK and China worth £14 billion. Under the ZNShine agreement, the manufacturer will oversee a fund of £400 million provided in part by Chinese state banks, and given Beijing’s seal of approval. MAP Environmental will present projects for potential investment. It will then develop these in return for a 50% stake in the finished project.

“Our pipeline is very healthy and in some cases quite advanced,” Ross Gard, marketing manager, MAP Environment. “It ranges from very small to exceptionally large. I can’t disclose exact figures per site at this time but our pipeline currently stands at around the 400MW mark in total,” he told Solar Power Portal.

“Our focus is on commercial rooftops, ground-mounted sites and social housing. We have a decent foot hold in the new-build market and operate a consumer-based sign-up though our partnership with [real estate firm] Savills. The £400 million is not specifically earmarked for one industry and will be spent across the spectrum.”

Gard also revealed that the company was close to revealing details of some of its proposed projects with the final contractual and legal details currently being hammered out.

MAP Environment originally began as a bathroom contractor before founder Paul Wheeler’s regular procurement trips to China exposed him to the opportunity for wholesale PV and solar thermal products. The company has since developed installation and operations and management capabilities.

MAP Environment’s board of directors includes former England rugby union internationals, Will Greenwood and Austin Healy. Gard explained that the pair’s extensive business contacts offered a rich vein of leads for its commercial rooftop business.

The deal is expected to create as many as 550 new jobs.


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