NESF’s portfolio has now grown to about 800MWp thanks to the acquisition, with sites around the UK like this one at Staughton. Image: NESF.

NextEnergy Solar Fund (NESF) has acquired 100MWp of UK solar in a c.£64.3 million deal with Lightsource BP.

The Camden solar PV portfolio is made up of two projects, the 50MWp Grange site in Yorkshire and the 50MWp South Lowfield site in Nottinghamshire.

Bifacial panels have been used at the utility-scale ground-mount sites, which have a 40 year lifespan. The Grange is energised and South Lowfield is expected to be energised shortly, NESF said, with both expected to be commissioned in the first half of 2021.

Both have 15-year power purchase agreements signed for c.75% of the electricity generation with AB InBev, the world's largest brewer according to the company.

Kevin Lyon, chairman of NESF, said the Camden portfolio is an “excellent fit” for the company as “the PPA agreement with AB InBev provides long-term, reliable cashflows to the fund”.

“The board is excited to partner with such a high-profile global company, helping them achieve their renewable energy targets.”

The acquisition of the Grange brings NESF’s portfolio up to 92 operating solar assets, with a combined capacity of c.813MWp, which will grow to c.863MWp once South Lowfield is energised. The acquisition of both increases NESF’s portfolio capacity by 13%.  

Talking about the acquisition, Ross Grier, UK managing director of NextEnergy Capital Group, said the “15-year corporate PPA is a real highlight given the average period for corporate PPAs that we see in the market is around 7-10 years”.

“NESF will continue to look to grow its solar portfolio further, domestically and internationally, through our measured investment process, with shareholder value at the heart of our decisions.”

As part of this portfolio growth, NESF is currently targeting a 150MW subsidy-free portfolio, announcing within its H1 results for 2020 in November it had now achieved 64MW of operating subsidy-free solar in this portfolio.

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, it hailed the “strong operational resilience” in its full year results for 2020 as its assets performed 8.1% above budget.