Foresight Solar Fund has seen generation from its UK portfolio perform 9% over budget in March due to high levels of irradiation.

Solar in the UK had a record-breaking month in March, strong high irradiation leading to a national peak generation of 9.68GW. This sunny weather, combined with high asset availability, saw electricity generation from Foresight UK's 723MW portfolio come in at 9% above budget, the company said in an operational update released today (4 May 2020).

Its UK generation portfolio did well across 2019, Foresight outlined in its 2019 annual results that it performed 3.9% above budget due to strong irradiation as well as record asset availability.

However, low electricity demand – which alongside the high volumes of renewables on the grid contributed to breaking Britain’s coal-free record – is impacting the company's Net Asset Value (NAV) due to its effect on power prices.

Foresight’s NAV stood at £597.2 million for Q1 2020, resulting in a NAV per ordinary share of 98.6 pence. Both have fallen compared to Q4 2019, when Foresight’s NAV was £626.9 million and NAV per ordinary share of 103.6 pence. This itself was down from Q3 2020 due to the drip in the UK power price forecasts.

The fall in NAV in Q1 2020 has also been attributed to the downward revision of power price forecasts, with Foresight citing the reason behind this as the reduction in demand as well as a decrease in energy-related commodity prices.

However, Foresight said it would “also like to highlight the recognition of the reversal of the proposed decrease in the rate of Corporation Tax, resulting in a negative impact to NAV of 0.5 pence per share”.

The Gross Asset Value of Foresight Solar Fund, including its subsidiaries, was £1,026.2 million as of 31 March 2020, a slight decrease compared to 31 December 2019 when it was £1,071.5 million.

The Foresight Group has has a busy year in 2019, acquiring John Laing Environmental Assets’ (JLEN) advisory mandate in June 2019, taking on its portfolio of 28 operational assets located in the UK and Europe. Foresight Solar Fund then completed the £245 million debt refinancing of the portfolio in August before announcing its intention to raise funds via a new share placing in order to pay down its existing debt in October.

It maintains that it does not expect any significant impacts to its operational performance due to COVID-19. Internationally, it stated it is seeing “positive progress” across its146MW Australian portfolio. A temporary export restriction that was in place at its Bannerton was removed on 23 April 2020, allowing it to again export at full capacity, Foresight said