NextEnergy Capital takes leap into Portugal with 17.4MWp acquisition

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NextEnergy Solar Fund's 50MWp Staughton solar farm in the UK. Image: NextEnergy Solar Farm

Solar investor NextEnergy Capital has made its first play into Portugal's solar market with the acquisition of a 17.4MWp project.

Passing ownership from Azimuth Molecule and Cardinal Flexivel, the farm already has a 10-year power purchase agreement (PPA) in place, with plans to start construction in Q4 2020 and commissioning in Q3 2021.

It was acquired by NextEnergy Capital's third institutional solar fund, NextPower III fund (NP III), which aims to acquire shovel-ready solar projects or those already in operation across high-growth OECD international markets, and marks NP III's first foray into Portugal.

This new project adds to NP III’s 335MWp of capacity already in operation and under construction, which spans eight projects and multiple geographies. The fund has a further seven projects under exclusivity and a total capacity of circa 450MWp, and is targeting 2.5GW of international installed solar capacity, which Aldo Beolchini, managing partner and chief investment officer, said it was on track to achieve.

Beolchini pointed to how Portugal and “many other countries worldwide are stepping-up their commitments to increase clean energy generation”, with NP III “proud to be contributing to this global effort whilst opening new markets for NextEnergy”.

The fund is currently focused on increasing its portfolios in the likes of the USA, Latin America and Europe, with further acquisitions expected to be announced in Q4 2020. In January 2020, CEO Mike Bonte-Friedheim told PV Tech that Southern and Eastern hotspots – including Portugal, Spain, Poland and Greece – would be targeted.

In April, NP III established a new investment platform with investment partners and experienced solar developers in the US with an intention of investing US$100 million into a portfolio of assets of around 100MW of solar PV.

The fund made its maiden acquisition in India in July, striking a deal with German project developer and EBC IBC Solar for a 27.4MWp project.

This new acquisition in Portgual is set to help the fund “further increase its presence globally”, according to Filinto Martins, managing director and head of NextPower III, who praised the country for its “high growth potential”.

“NextPower III is already at an advanced stage of negotiations to execute further opportunities in Iberia by the end of the year. We see Iberia as a key geography for the fund and we have a defined growth strategy for Iberia,” Martins said.

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