European subsidy-free markets have ‘developed rapidly’, investor says

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One of Europe’s leading utility-scale solar investors has said that the continent’s subsidy-free solar market has “developed rapidly” in recent months. 

Foresight Solar Fund, which owns more than 700MW of utility-scale solar in the UK, said within its interim results disclosure today that it was keeping a watching brief on subsidy-free developments in Europe, particularly in the south of the continent, after watching a surge in subsidy-free economics of late. 

It paid particular mention to the Spanish and Portuguese markets, where it said especially attractive power purchase agreement structures were sparking a wave of new activity. 

Earlier this month Portugal’s solar auction set new records with tariffs as low as €14.76/MWh as a total of 1.15GW worth of contracts were handed out by the country’s government. 

But Foresight was less enthused about the current subsidy-free prospects of its home market. While other investors, most notably NextEnergy Solar Fund, have this year broken ground on their first unsubsidised projects, Foresight said the UK’s prospects are “not yet in line with company expectations” and, as a result, the company is standing still for now. 

It did, however, suggest that the UK’s recently-passed net zero law, which states the UK must transition to a carbon-free economy by 2050, stood to act as a catalyst for subsidy-free developments in the near future. 

6 October 2021
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