NextEnergy Solar Fund has increased its investment in the UK solar market by acquiring a solar farm in Essex and agreeing to expand another.

NextEnergy has signed a share purchase agreement to acquire the special purpose vehicle (SPV) owning Langenhoe Solar Farm in Langenhoe, Essex, which was connected to the grid last week.

The 21.2MWp project is to be purchased for a maximum fee of £22.9m and the deal is expected to complete as soon as the SPV receives its preliminary acceptance certificate, expected later this month.

NextEnergy has followed the purchase by undertaking the construction of the second phase of the Bilsham solar farm, adding a further 2.6MWp to the Sussex project.

The first phase was connected to the grid in November last year and completed in January and the second phase is to be accredited under the 1.4 ROC regime.

NextEnergy has however structured the development services agreement to only accept the plant if it is grid connected ahead of 31 March 2015, the deadline for which UK projects must be connected under the existing ROC regime.

The two projects will take NextEnergy’s asset capacity to a total of 148.3MWp and its investment total to circa £171.1m after last month boosting its war chest with a £61.4m share issue.