NESF to resume UK subsidy-free work ‘shortly’ as pandemic effects are downplayed

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NESF is currently pursuing the construction of its third unsubsidised solar asset in the UK. Image: NESF.

UK solar investor NextEnergy Solar Fund (NESF), part of NextEnergy Capital, will resume construction of its subsidy-free pipeline “shortly” after insisting the COVID-19 outbreak is having a minimal impact on its operations.

In an operating update released today (8 April 2020), NESF confirmed that work would shortly continue on its third unsubsidised solar asset in the UK – an 8.5MWp extension to an existing array – following the completion of initial site entry works.

While the company did caveat this as being subject to the ongoing situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, NESF did reiterate that it still expects project energisation to take place towards the end of Q3 2020.

Meanwhile, NESF also confirmed that it has mitigated other potential impacts of the pandemic, particularly relating to the ongoing maintenance of operational sites.

It is not expecting any significant complications along its spare parts chain, having built up a stock of spare parts during H2 2019.

Its key service providers have also continued to provide contracted services and the company has not experienced any significant technical, operational or financial impacts resulting from COVID-19.

There has been some uncertainty surrounding the status of solar workers as key personnel as the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted numerous markets and solar hotspots in particular. Whereas California initially classified solar installations as critical work, there is now confusion after a number of counties placed further restrictions on their work. Meanwhile, in Spain construction on new sites has ground to a halt following a government decree that forbid construction workers from visiting sites until after 9 April 2020.

In the UK, strict lockdown measures have been enforced to tackle the spread of the pandemic with exemptions for workers providing a key service. The country’s government has however yet to clarify whether those working on the development of energy generation projects – including solar – are included, and anecdotal stories have emerged of solar workers being stopped and questioned by police in the country.

PV Tech has set up a dedicated tracker to map out how the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting solar supply chains worldwide. You can read the latest updates here.

If you have a COVID-19 statement to share or a story on how the pandemic is disrupting a solar business anywhere in the world, do get in touch at jrojo@solarmedia.co.uk or lstoker@solarmedia.co.uk.

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