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25 Mar 2021 | 09:35

NextEnergy Solar reaches development target with two new assets

(Sharecast News) - NextEnergy Solar Fund has reached its subsidy-free development target of 150MWp, it announced on Thursday, through two newly-approved development assets, which were currently being prepared for construction and were expected to be energised in early 2022. The FTSE 250 solar power investor said the assets had an approximate investment value of £45m, and comprised Whitecross, a 124-acre solar project based in Lincolnshire with an installed capacity of 35.3MWp; and Hatherden, a 198-acre solar project based in Hampshire with an installed capacity of c.50MWp.

It said the two assets would cover the yearly electricity demand for around 25,000 UK households.

NextEnergy said it chose Whitecross and Hatherden from its development portfolio based on their attractive forecast financial returns, and their relative near-term energisation.

Having achieved its target subsidy-free capacity, NextEnergy said it was looking to divest any residual development risk, and so had agreed to sell 16 development projects not in construction or in operation from its subsidy-free pipeline.

The identified projects would be sold to a subsidiary of NextPower Development, with the divestment amounting to a combined consideration of £5.6m, resulting in NextEnergy Solar Fund receiving an "attractive return" on the capital invested, the board said.

"The divestment is a result of NextEnergy Solar Fund having achieved its target, and reducing exposure to any further development risk at this time," said chairman Kevin Lyon.

"This allows NESF to increase its focus on investment opportunities both in and outside the UK in line with the expansion of NESF's investment policy approved by shareholders last year."

Michael Bonte-Friedheim, chief executive officer of NextEnergy Capital Group, added that reaching the 150MWp target for subsidy-free assets in development was a "milestone achievement" for NESF.

"NESF has firmly demonstrated its leadership in the UK solar market and continues to achieve superior technical and operational performance.

"In parallel, NESF continues to focus on further growth opportunities in the UK and internationally."

At 0928 GMT, shares in NextEnergy Solar Fund were up 0.25% at 100.05p.
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