Qualitas Energy raises €280 million for Mula solar plant debts

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The Mula solar plant has a capacity of 494MWp. Image: Qualitas Energy

Spanish fund manager Qualitas Energy has raised €280 million (US$300.5 million) in funding to refinance debts accrued at the Mula PV plant in the Spanish region of Murcia.

The project is owned by Canadian investment firm Northleaf Capital Partners, and was built by the ACS Group, a Spanish construction firm. The facility began commercial operations in 2019 and is one of the largest single site solar projects in Europe, with an installed capacity of 494MWp.

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Qualitas worked with five additional companies to secure funding for the project: Spanish banks Bankinter, BBVA and Unicaja, German bank DekaBank and UK-based EDC. Other companies involved in the deal include Spanish bank Kenta Capital and UK-based law firm Watson Farley & Williams, which worked as financial advisors and legal advisors, respectively.

“The refinancing of the Mula PV solar plant marks a significant milestone for Qualitas Energy and its investors,” said José María Arzac, investment principal at Qualitas. “We are pleased to incorporate new financial partners for future investments while stabilising the project’s risk profile.

“We have once again demonstrated great adaptability, and this precedent will allow us to seize strategic opportunities in the market.”

The funds have also been recognised as ‘green loans’ by the Loan Market Association, as they will be used to support renewable power generation, and is the latest positive development for the Spanish solar sector. In the second quarter of this year, Spanish utility Iberdrola added 500MW of new solar capacity to its portfolio, bringing its total solar capacity to nearly 5GW.

Developments such as these will be vital additions to Spain’s solar capacity considering its ambitious plans for the sector. Earlier this year, Spain submitted an updated draft of its national energy and climate plan (NECP) to the EU, which dramatically increased its solar capacity installation target compared to the earlier version of the NECP, which was produced in 2019. In the 2019 document, Spain aimed to install 39.1GW of solar capacity by 2030, but is now planning to install close to double that figure, 76GW, by the end of the decade.

The same updated NECP aims for Spain to generate more power from solar than any other renewable energy source, with the government targeting 62GW of wind capacity by the end of the decade, and 14.5GW hydropower capacity by 2030.

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