BlackRock targets UK solar market with 1GW Lightsource link

Solar developer Lightsource and the world’s biggest asset manager BlackRock have teamed up in a major partnership aimed at jointly creating a 1GW solar portfolio in the UK by 2020.

The strategic partnership, to be called Kingfisher, aims to acquire projects from developers so as to create a £1bn ($1.3bn) portfolio over the next three year while consolidating the UK’s secondary solar market.

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Lightsource said it was kick-starting the partnership by initially including 25 of its newly-constructed solar assets with a total combined capacity of 156MW. These projects have secured guaranteed subsidies under the Renewable Obligation (RO) and contract-for-difference schemes.

The developer said a further 50MW of RO assets being built in Northern Ireland would be added later this year to the portfolio once they become operational.

As part of the tie-up, Lightsouce said it would be providing long-term operations and asset management services for the partnership, building on its experience providing such services for 1.9GW of utility-scale solar assets in the UK.

“By leveraging economies of scale, Lightsource can provide cost efficiencies and better returns as we acquire UK solar plants and operate them as part of our growing global portfolio,” says Paul McCartie, Lightsource chief investment officer.

BlackRock has a long track record of involvement in the renewables sector where it globally manages more than $4.8bn of equity assets.

“Over the last two years, we have invested in more than 20 solar projects in the UK representing nearly 150MW of capacity on behalf of our clients, and we believe this market continues to present attractive opportunities for institutional investors,” says Rory O’Connor, managing director and head of renewable power for Europe at BlackRock.

“In working closely together with Lightsource as a leading developer and operator of solar projects we are confident to realise a lot of additional potential in the market.”