Aquila Capital secures financing to construct 2.6GW of renewables in Spain and Portugal

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A 50MW solar project from Aquila Capital in the Spanish region of Andalucía. Image: Aquila Capital.

German investment firm Aquila Capital has raised €1 billion (US$992 million) in financing to support the development and construction of a 2.6GW renewables pipeline in Spain and Portugal over the next three years.

Predominantly solar PV and wind assets, the pipeline features more than 50 projects from Aquila Clean Energy EMEA, Aquila Capital’s clean energy development platform in Europe.

While Aquila Capital has not disclosed the capacity for each technology in the pipeline, the company confirmed to PV Tech that the vast majority will be solar PV.

The €1 billion build-to-sell construction facility consists of €400 million credit from the European Investment Bank (EIB), which is the European Union’s lending arm, and €600 million from a consortium of banks including Santander, NatWest, KfW IPEX-Bank, BNP Paribas, ING, Intesa SanPaolo and Banco Sabadell.

For the total project volume of more than €2 billion, the remaining amount of more than €1 billion comes from funds managed by Aquila Capital and from the company’s capital.

The EIB said the short-term construction financing is groundbreaking as the development bank mainly acted as a long-term lender in the infrastructure space in the past.

“This construction facility is the first of its kind and a landmark transaction for the EIB,” said Ricardo Mourinho Félix, EIB vice-president.

The project was made possible because of an EU budget guarantee under the InvestEU programme, which allows the EIB to increase its risk-taking capacity and, in this case, to assume electricity merchant risk under a non-recourse financing structure as the transaction does not involve any price hedge mechanism such as a power purchase agreement.

The transaction constitutes the largest financing in the history of Aquila Capital, according to Susanne Wermter, CEO of Aquila Clean Energy EMEA. “It demonstrates the creditability and appeal of our clean energy assets that aim to actively shape the European energy transition,” she said.

A developer and operator of solar, wind, hydropower and battery storage assets, Aquila Clean Energy currently manages a portfolio totalling more than 8.2GW.

Earlier this year, Aquila Capital acquired 100MW of solar in Spain from Mytilineos and bought a 51% stake in a portfolio of 15 PV plants in Italy from Powertis.

The investment firm has since formed a joint venture with renewables developer TopInfra to develop solar PV, wind and battery energy storage system projects in South Korea.

For the EIB, the deal comes after it announced earlier in the year it would provide loans to support the addition of 430MW of solar PV and wind in Spain and Portugal.

The bank recently signed solar financing agreements with both independent power producer Opdenergy and utility Iberdrola.

27 June 2023
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