UK solar investor looks to lock down 186MW of projects

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The NextEnergy Solar Fund (NESF) will issue 250 million new shares as it looks to buy up a raft of projects in the UK before the closure of an existing support scheme.

Projects over 5MW will no longer qualify for the renewable obligation (RO) after March 2015 and instead will have to compete with onshore wind for capacity in the competitive contracts for difference (CfD) auctions.

NESF has confirmed that it has exclusive rights, for a certain period of time, on £210 million (US$340 million) of solar farms that are either operational or scheduled to be connected before the RO is closed to projects over 5MW on 1 April 2015.

The investments represent around 186MW of capacity.

In addition to these agreements, NESF claims to have a pipeline of potential investments with a value of £333 million (US$540 million).

The news shares will be issued in early November. There is no prospectus at this time.

According to the latest NPD Solarbuzz analysis, there are well over 500 ground-mounted solar farms in the UK competing to fill the 2GW of installations expected between now and 31 March 2015.

Investors will be keen to secure their share of projects that appear likely to qualify for the final RO allocation for large-scale projects and there could be a flurry of transactions in the next six months.

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