Foresight said this is the first investment in a utility-scale solar project in Portugal that does not receive government subsidies. Flickr: fdecomite
London-headquartered investment firm Foresight Group has acquired the 7.2MW Vale Matanças solar farm in Alcácer do Sal, Portugal, developed by local asset management firm Exus Management Partners.
Foresight said this is the first investment in a utility-scale solar project in Portugal that does not receive government subsidies. The firm is also eyeing up a larger portfolio of similar unsubsidised projects in Portugal, Spain and Italy.
Nearly one year ago the Portuguese government approved 180MW of unsubsidised solar PV capacity, but the country’s renewables association said solar could not work without financial support in the market conditions of that time.
Spanish IPP and EPC contractor Solarig Global Services will start construction of the Vale Matanças farm in September, with grid connection expected before the end of the year.
The Project, expected to produce 12GWh of electricity per year, will be constructed in an agricultural area covering around 18 hectares.
Carlos Rey, senior investment manager at Foresight, said: “We are pleased to have completed this first milestone of our larger development portfolio plan for unsubsidised solar across Southern Europe. At the current cost of the technology, solar assets can operate without separate subsidies and deliver superior risk adjusted returns for our investors. Grid-parity forms a key part of our long-term strategy as we are looking to consolidate further our leadership as a worldwide solar operator”
Foresight funds currently manage more than £2billion in infrastructure assets including more than 900Mw of operating solar plants in the UK, Southern Europe, the US and Australia.
This year Foresight also set its eyes on a number of UK assets.
The business of solar is changing, as the industry scales up, technology, IT and new players to the market will add complexity. This sparks a host of opportunities such as co-location of solar and storage and the rise of unsubsidised solar projects as well as challenges which will question the very business model of European solar asset owners. Solar Finance & Investment Europe is the meeting place for institutional investors, sovereign wealth funds, solar, wind and storage funds and large energy buyers to do business.