Asset management firm John Laing Environmental Assets Group (JLEA) has continued to grow its solar portfolio by purchasing stakes in two solar farms for £20.37 million.
JLEA has acquired the remaining 36% stake in the Branden Solar project in Bodmin, Cornwall, which comprises two separate solar farms with a total generation capacity of 14.7MW. The company acquired a 64% stake in the project earlier this year and has exercised its first offer agreement to own the asset outright.
John Laing has also purchased the entirety of ‘B’ shares in the 10.7MW Monksham Solar farm in Frome, Somerset, as well as other interests from the park’s developer Green Nation. Holders of ‘A’ shares are to remain invested in the project, but JLEA will take over operational management of the farm and provide a loan to repay finance used in its construction.
While JLEA confirmed that both assets are unaffected by recent announcements by the Department for Energy and Climate Change to Renewables Obligation support, it did note that acquisition prices had been amended to reflect the removal of the Climate Change Levy exemption for renewable energy. After the exemption was removed as part of Chancellor George Osborne’s summer budget, a host of asset management firms said it would dent revenues by around 3-4%.
The acquisitions were financed using proceeds from JLEA’s recent fundraising and Richard Morse, chairman at JLEA, said it was “pleasing” to secure the deals shortly after financing.
“They [the acquisitions] demonstrate the company’s ability to acquire assets from parties other than John Laing in parallel with the continuing successful operation of our first offer agreement with John Laing,” Morse added.
The deals take JLEA’s renewable energy asset portfolio past the 100MW barrier, representing a “significant milestone” for the company according to Morse.
Finlay Colville, head of market intelligence at Solar Intelligence, said: “John Laing’s current portfolio of UK solar farms accounts for approximately 1.5% of completed solar assets built in the UK since 2011. According to the Solar Intelligence Report 4 – Completed Assets, John Laing is ranked at position number 21 for completed MW portfolios of UK solar farm assets.”