Bluefield Solar Income Fund has acquired a ready to build 45MWp solar and 25MWp storage site in northeast Lincolnshire.
The acquisition includes the grid connection and associated land of the fully consented site from EQUANS (re-branded from ENGIE Renewables) for approximately £5 million.
It is expected to begin construction during 2022, at the same time as Bluefield’s 50MWp Yelvertoft solar project, which has been developed through the company’s propriety pipeline and was announced in its 31 December 2020 Interim Statement.
Along with the solar and storage acquisition, Bluefield has also purchased its first wind power assets with 109 small onshore turbines. This was previously announced in the company’s recent prospectus, and has been completed for approximately £63 million and is immediately earnings accretive.
John Rennocks, chairman of Bluefield Solar said he was delighted by the acquisition of the wind assets and the company's first co-located solar and energy storage project.
“Both investments mark important steps in fulfilling Bluefield Solar Income Fund’s strategic objective of adding complementary renewable assets, up to 25% of GAV (gross asset value), to its high performing UK solar portfolio.
“This is our first investment in energy storage and the Board views this as an attractive source of diversification for our income, with significant future valuation uplift potential from adding solar and storage assets in development.”
The acquisitions follow Bluefield paying off its short term revolving credit facility (RCF) using its recent fundraise of £103 million (net of costs) in July, leaving £13 million available to the company in cash resources, along with its then undrawn £100 million RCF.
Prior to the fundraise, it had drawn £90 million of the RCF. The acquisition of the wind, solar and storage assets along with development expenditure of approximately £3 million currently means it has now redrawn approximately £60 million.
As such, Bluefield’s total outstanding debt is around £340 million. Based on its 31 March 2021 unaudited net asset value of £460.5 million, and including these acquisitions as well as the fundraise, its leverage is approximately 38% of GAV.
In 2020, Bluefield similarly benefited from an oversubscribed offer, which saw the company raise £45 million. This was also used to expand its portfolio, acquiring a 64.2MWp solar portfolio in August 2020 and 70MWp Bradenstoke solar farm in January 2020.