Image: NESF

NextEnergy Solar Fund (NESF) has made its maiden move into Northern Ireland, acquiring an 8MW solar farm.

The Ballygarvey farm, which receives subsidies under the Northern Ireland renewable obligation certificates, was acquired by NESF for a total investment value of £8.5 million.

NESF’s operating asset manager, WiseEnergy, has been managing the site since early 2018 and is expected to help facilitate the transition.

The plant was originated and developed by Elgin Energy and sold on to Canadian Solar pre-construction.

Also announced by NESF was the connection of its subsidy-free 5.4MW Hall Farm II site in Leicestershire. The farm is an extension of its 5MW Hall Farm site, which it acquired in 2015, and is its first subsidy-free site.

Construction of Hall Farm II began in March and the site was then connected to the grid on 5 August.

The acquisition of Ballygarvey and grid connection of Hall Farm II bumps NESF’s portfolio to 89 operating solar plants.

A NESF spokesperson said: “We are very pleased to have completed the acquisition of the Ballygarvey solar plant which now means that NESF owns operating plants in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

Construction of a 50MW solar farm in Staughton has also begun, with NESF expecting it to be connected to the grid by the end of 2019.

NESF saw its profits more than double to £70.6 million in the year ended 31 March 2019, which it said was attributable to last summer’s heatwave resulting in solar irradiation levels being significantly higher than forecast.