Lightsource agrees £39.3 million funding package with RBS for 45MW portfolio

Lightsource Renewable Energy has closed project financing on a 45MW portfolio following a £39.5 million funding package with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

RBS claims that the transaction represents the largest solar project financing deal in the UK to date under the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme.

In total, eight solar farms have been refinanced under the deal; Lovedean (4.5MW), Ninnis (3.9MW), Rudge Manor (6.4MW), Hatchlands (5.2MW), Parkhouse (6.6MW), Shipton Bellinger (5.4MW), Tregassow (5.9MW) and Chittering 2 (6.3MW).

Andrew Buglass, head of energy, structured finance, RBS, praised the bank’s relationship with Lightsource and noted that it was working on “a pipeline of deals in the project finance UK solar space”.

RBS has taken an increasing interest in the UK solar market, having funded 90MW of projects to date. The bank sees the latest deal as a market leading transaction in the UK to support large-scale solar energy projects.

Speaking to Solar Power Portal, Paul McCartie, finance director for Lightsource explained that the developer still has a "strong appetite for development and a significant pipeline" of UK projects. McCartie added: “Lightsource closed seven separate project financing transactions last year, borrowing almost £200m in the process. We have definitely seen an improvement in financing terms but this has as much to do with improving general economic conditions in the UK as it does to the maturing nature of the solar market, underlying stable legislation and confidence from funders.

"Once you get past terms though, its clear that key to a lenders decision to enter into a financing process is the sponsors ability to transact and their track record in closing financings, which Lightsource has demonstrated. We are actively working on a number of new project financings and expect to raise £200-300m again this year.”