Eastfields is located by Deppers Bridge, and is designed with a single-axis tracking system. Image: BELECTRIC.

Vantage RE has entered the project development space in the UK, with the acquisition of two solar schemes, both co-located with battery energy storage systems (BESS), from JBM Solar.

The projects, the 34.8MWp Eastfields project in Warwickshire and the 66.5MWp Bunker’s Hill project in Hampshire, have a combined solar capacity of 102MWp, and 65MWac BESS.

Eastfields is located by Deppers Bridge, and is designed with a single-axis tracking system, and Bunkers Hill it located near to Hook. Almost 170,000 solar modules will be installed across the sites.

Both include community funds, as well as being designed to offer an average biodiversity net gain of over 50%.

“This opportunity marks a significant milestone for Vantage RE as we evolve our business model from acquiring operational renewable energy assets to developing our own,” said Vian Davys, CEO at Vantage RE.

“This shift is part of our longer term Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) plans and we’re making great progress on these ambitions. Providing clean, secure and affordable energy is more critical than ever. But we’re also developing TNB’s in-house capabilities, strengthening technology, experience and skills, in line with our aspiration to be a leading global sustainable energy provider.” 

Vantage RE currently owns and operates a significant solar portfolio in the UK, with this acquisition bringing it to 467MW.

As its first step into project development in the country, Eastfields and Bunker’s Hill represent a continued effort to green energy generation on behalf of the company’s owner Malaysia-listed electricity utility Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), it noted.

It follows Vantage RE securing new debt financing of £275 million with a 13-year tenor from Macquarie, for the refinancing of the company’s then UK solar portfolio totaling 365MW in February.

Both Eastfields and Bunker’s Hill secured contracts at a strike price of £45.99 (2012 price, ~£60/MWh in August 2022) within Allocation Round 4 of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction. They were two of eight JBM Solar projects to gain contracts, out of a total of 66 solar projects with a total capacity of 2.2GW that won contracts. 

JBM has committed to deliver a 2GW UK solar pipeline in the next three years, and has secured planning permission for sites including 49.9MW solar farms in DevonAshorne and Hinckley and Bosworth. 

Brendan O’Brien, director and co-founder of JBM Solar said: “We are pleased to close the sale of these two projects, demonstrating JBM Solar’s ability to deliver high quality innovative assets with long-term financial and sustainability benefits. We are also delighted to contribute to Vantage RE’s long-term renewable energy aspirations.”

Vantage RE has selected BELECTRIC as engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) service provider for the two projects, marking the company’s re-entry to the UK market. The European EPC, member of Elevion Group, has built over 4GW of capacity worldwide.

It withdrew from the EPC space in the UK in 2015, but its team has continued to provide Operations and Maintenance services to its own-built as well as third-party solar systems.

“We are proud to have won Vantage RE as a partner,” said David Johann, head of sales Europe at BELECTRIC.

“Being chosen to construct these two exciting projects underlines our expertise in the construction of tracker projects in Nordic countries as well as the integration of storage solutions into the overall solar system.”

Construction is set to begin in the second quarter of 2023, with both solar farms expected to achieve commercial operation early 2024.