Foresight Group buys large-scale UK plant from ReneSola

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Foresight Group has purchased a large-scale UK solar farm from the Chinese tier-one PV module manufacturer Renesola, with Foresight claiming that its UK solar portfolio now exceeds 400MW of generation assets.

Solar Power Portal, PV Tech’s sister site covering the UK solar industry, reported last month that Foresight Group has been on an “acquisition spree” lately, buying up large-scale PV plants of over 5MW generation capacity that had been approved to receive financial support from the country’s government under the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) scheme before it expired in April this year.

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Under government rules, only medium-sized PV projects of up to and including 5MW will be supported through existing schemes, while anything larger than that is subject to the controversial Contracts for Difference (CfD) programme, which has been criticised for being difficult to understand and has led to the complete cessation of new, >5MW projects being developed. Amber Rudd, the UK minister responsible for energy and climate change has gone as far as to say the government “does not want” large-scale solar.

The 6.4MW Field House site qualified under the 1.4 ROCs level of support, which was in place in Britain until March 2015, when the project was grid-connected. Field House was built with ReneSola’s Virtus II modules.

ReneSola appears to be in a somewhat uncertain position within the borders of the EU market. The company, which also makes energy efficiency products, withdrew from the minimum import price (MIP) undertaking between China and the European Union that has been applied in an attempt to settle the long-standing anti-dumping dispute.

The withdrawal occurred after the company had been accused of breaching the rules of the MIP deal by using original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) overseas to circumvent the undertaking. Despite this, ReneSola’s manager of its operations in Britain had said the company’s “position as a supplier to the European marketplace will be stable”.

As with other major PV manufacturers, ReneSola has sought to improve its overall competitiveness with a strategy of moving its business further downstream. ReneSola CEO Xianshou Li said the latest sale was evidence of this strategy’s success.

“With current total existing projects of nearly 90MW, we expect to monetise our downstream project portfolio while seeking new project opportunities to develop, build and transfer,” Li said.

“We look forward to continued collaboration with Foresight Group and other buyer partners.”

A previous version of this story incorrectly suggested that Foresight Group was a yieldco.

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