Insurer Aviva has completed the purchase of around 7,000 solar photovoltaic systems, totalling around 23MW, from London-based free solar supplier, HomeSun.

According to the Financial Times, the deal is thought to be worth around £100 million. The deal was completed by Aviva Investors, the insurance company’s asset management arm and is thought to be the UK’s largest residential renewables transaction ever.

The majority of Aviva’s newly-acquired solar portfolio was installed by HomeSun during the initial phase of the feed-in tariff whereby all sub 4kW systems received 43.3p/kWh – providing a lucrative return on investment.

Daniel Green, CEO of HomeSun said: “HomeSun launched free solar across the UK and became the No 1 installer for free solar and SolarShare.  Our plan has always been to find a long term partner that will continue to provide security to our customers whose systems will be managed and monitored for 25 years. Aviva Investors has demonstrated itself to be the ideal choice throughout the process. HomeSun will continue to work with all of our customers, supporting all of the installations and developing the next innovation in products and services”.

Under the agreement, HomeSun will continue to service and maintain Aviva’s portfolio of solar arrays. However, the insurance giant has also signalled its intent to use the purchase as a platform to increase its portfolio of renewable technologies – particularly solar photovoltaic installations. The company has also hinted that it will begin to develop its own solar PV projects.

Ian Berry, Fund Manager – Infrastructure & Renewable Energy at Aviva Investors said: “This strategic investment in UK renewables is one of many we have planned and is part of our strategy of investing in high quality renewable energy infrastructure assets.  We are delighted to have concluded this transaction and acquired these operational renewable energy assets.  In this challenging environment, we are focused on leveraging our leading market position, sector knowledge, and financing skills in order to identify attractive opportunities and execute deals for the benefit of investors.  Many institutions are looking to invest in assets that offer secure and long-dated income streams, in order to meet their liabilities, and infrastructure as an asset class has the potential to meet these needs.”

Aviva Investors has indicated that the purchase of HomeSun’s solar portfolio was largely driven to benefit the insurer’s pension fund clients.