EUROPE ROUND-UP: UK system operator issues solar call; EU must support emerging PV markets

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Image: Lightsource BP.

A round-up of the latest news from Europe’s solar market, including a call to action from the UK’s electricity system operator and SolarPower Europe’s bid to kickstart deployment in emerging markets.


At least 1.4GW of UK solar needs to be built annually until 2050: UK system operator

27 July 2020: At least 1.4GW of solar must be built in the UK each year between now and 2050 if the country is to meet its decarbonisation targets, the country’s electricity system operator has said.

National Grid Electricity System Operator (NGESO) – the party tasked with managing the country’s power system – has issued the call within the latest edition of its Future Energy Scenarios document, an annual publication which outlines its projections for the power grid.

This year’s document argues that the economics of energy supply and demand will “fundamentally shift” as the UK progresses towards a net zero power sector, with zero marginal cost generation providing up to 71% of power output by 2030, rising to 81% by 2050.

Four techonlogies – wind, solar, nuclear and bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) – are expected to provide 90% of electricity generation by 2050, however NGESO said current market arrangements for renewable investment would have to evolve to facilitate such a progression.

NGESO’s Future Energy Scenarios document for 2020 can be read in full here.


EU can drive green recovery by supporting emerging solar markets

27 July 2020: The European Commission can utilise Europe’s Green Deal and stimulate solar deployment in emerging markets such as Africa, a position paper published by SolarPower Europe (SPE) has found.

The paper argues that through the external pillar of the European Green Deal, which calls for Green Deal Diplomacy, the bloc can support emerging markets in embracing solar, develop their renewable energy capacity and deliver a host of other benefits in the process.

And solar stands perfectly placed to deliver not just long-term but also short-term solutions, presenting a “significant economic opportunity” for countries and European businesses.

“As the crisis risks to weaken the economies of emerging markets, especially in Africa, potentially undermining ongoing efforts and reforms needed to integrate renewables, it is key for the EU to develop ambitious policies to support access to energy and a green recovery with its partner countries, where there is a huge untapped potential for renewable generation,” Stefano Mantellassi, VP for energy solutions at Eni and chair of SPE’s emerging markets workstream, said.

The full position paper cam be read here.


Sonnedix adds to Italian PV portfolio

27 July 2020: Independent power producer Sonnedix has bolstered its standing in the Italian market, acquiring 8.2MW of operational solar in the country.

Sonnedix confirmed the acquisition of two separate portfolios: one consisting of six operational rooftop arrays with a combined capacity of 5.2MW, and another portfolio of three ground-mounted projects with a combined capacity of 3MW.

Together, they take Sonnedix’s Italian portfolio to 242.2MWp and Axel Thiemann, CEO at Sonnedix, said they took the company “further towards our goal to build a bright future”.

“The first half of 2020 has brought many challenges, and we are very proud of our purpose-driven team who remains focused on our role in pushing the energy transition forward, and our long-term commitment to provide a reliable supply of clean electricity to our communities,” he added.


Greencells recruits ex-WIRCON partner as chief strategy officer

23 July 2020: Project developer and EPC Greencells has appointed ex-WIRCON managing partner Peter Vest as its new chief strategy officer.

The company said the appointment into a newly created position signalled its intent to drive further expansion overseas.

Vest spent six years at renewables developer WIRCON, serving as managing partner at the firm, having previously held positions at fellow German energy companies EnBW and Yello Strom.

Vest said Greencells would be able to further strength its position in project development by leveraging its own reputation and by partnering with local players in new markets, and also indicated the company would be looking to “move a little closer to the capital markets”.


MPC Capital clinches sale of Spanish portfolio

27 July 2020: Asset manager MPC Capital has signed the sale of 9.6MWp of ground-mounted solar projects in Spain to an international investor.

The portfolio comprises four projects located in Mallorca and Andalusia and have been operational since 2007 and 2008.

The German company signed the sale on behalf of an investment fund launched by MPC Capital in 2008, and noted that total returns on the investment, including historic conditions, was around 190%, indicating an equity IRR of 7% per year.

“We are very pleased with the results of the sale of this portfolio of operational solar parks in Spain. The investors in the MPC managed fund will benefit from this attractive exit, especially given the historic context of regulatory changes in Spain,” Martin Vogt, managing director for renewable energies at MPC Capital, said.

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