Foresight enters ground-breaking deal to sell green power produced by the UK’s largest Solar Park direct to energy intensive corporate

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Foresight enters ground-breaking deal to sell green power produced by the UK’s largest Solar Park direct to energy intensive corporate

  • Acquisition of 72MW (peak) 50MW (export) Shotwick Solar Park in Deeside by Foresight Solar Fund Limited
  • Shotwick was constructed by developers WELink, British Solar Renewables and Compton Group
  • Direct power supply contract with UPM’s Shotton Paper Mill, for up to 100% green energy operation in daylight hours, cutting energy costs and saving 22,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year

London, 3 February 2017: Foresight Solar Fund Limited (“FSFL”) is pleased to announce the acquisition of Shotwick, the UK’s largest Solar Park with a 72MW peak capacity and a 50MW AC export capacity, constructed at a 220-acre site adjacent to UPM’s Shotton Paper Mill in Deeside, North Wales.

The developers, WElink, British Solar Renewables (“BSR”) and Compton Group, advised by EY, worked collaboratively with Foresight and with UPM, the largest producer of 100% recycled newsprint in the UK, to execute an innovative and sophisticated private wire arrangement which also has the flexibility to export to the grid. China Triumph International Engineering Co., Ltd. (“CTIEC”) is EPC contractor on the project.

The project sets a new gold standard for solar energy suppliers working with energy intensive industry, and can be seen as part of a wider shift towards corporates sourcing renewable electricity to better manage ongoing energy costs and lower carbon emissions.

The Shotwick solar park delivers clean electricity via a private wire to UPM, which lowers the paper mill’s energy costs and allows it to run on up to 100% green energy during the day, and as a whole, save up to 22,500 tonnes of CO2 per annum. This represents an attractive arrangement for both the solar park and UPM as a major local employer, delivering long-term environmental and economic benefits to the local community.

For Foresight Group (“Foresight”), the transaction marks the increase of FSFL’s solar portfolio to 17 assets, with a combined installed peak capacity of 420MW. FSFL has a strong pipeline and expects to announce further deals over the coming year. Osborne Clarke advised Foresight on the transaction.

This innovative direct supply arrangement is a prime example of how renewables are making a major contribution to the new decentralised smart energy grid, and Foresight is taking a lead in investing in new energy grid infrastructure as the UK transitions from its fossil fuel dependent centralised model to a decentralised low emissions and increasingly smart network.

Ricardo Pineiro, Partner and Head of UK Solar, Foresight, commented:

“We are delighted to reach financial close on the acquisition of Shotwick Solar Park, a project with a unique deal structure, delivering green electricity to Shotton Paper Mill. As the UK’s largest solar site the project sets an exciting new precedent in scale and flexibility for cost-efficient private wire arrangements and integration of Renewable generation in the UK industrial sector”

Andrew Dodge, Commercial Director, WElink Group said:

“We have a very long and proud history of developing large scale solar around the world and as the largest UK solar park, Shotwick has been one of our key projects to date. This project will not only provide clean energy but the power will also be used to provide electricity at an industrial scale proving that solar has matured to become a mainstream mode of generating energy.

Our team and partners have worked extremely hard to bring this project into being and this transaction is not only significant for the WElink Group but also for the renewable sector as a whole.”

Graham Harding, Managing Director of BSR added:

“British Solar Renewables is delighted to have brought this challenging and innovative project to fruition with its development partners, WElink and Compton Group, and our EPC and funding partner, China Triumph International Engineering (“CTIEC”).  We see this project as a showcase for how large scale solar can work alongside major power users such as UPM and we look forward to developing other such solar parks in the post subsidy era.  British Solar Renewables is also pleased to have an ongoing involvement in the project as O&M sub-contractor to CTIEC.”

Andrew Perkins, Corporate Finance Energy Partner at EY, commented:

“This is a landmark project that highlights the vital role solar power can play not only as a cost-effective and low carbon energy source but also in supporting UK industry and local economies through job creation. EY is delighted to have played a role in this innovative and hugely important project.”

Andrew Bronnert, Head of Energy, UPM Shotton, commented:

“We have been delighted by this partnership which has built on our existing site renewable energy generation, recycling and waste reprocessing to make UPM Shotton one of the most sustainable paper manufacturing sites in existence. The partnership further supports UPM’s own energy strategy”.

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