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In July 2017, Lightsource and BlackRock Real Assets entered into a strategic partnership, targeting the acquisition and ownership of UK solar power generation assets. The aggregate enterprise value of this partnership is£1 billion, representing a total target installed capacity of circa 1GWp, consolidating the secondary UK solar market.
BlackRock has a proven track record in the Renewables sector and through its dedicated global Real Assets platform globally manages more than $4.8 billion of equity assets in the renewable power sector.
Lightsource seeded the partnership with a 25 asset newly-constructed ROC and CFD portfolio with an installed capacity of 156 MWp. Lightsource added a further c. 50MWp of Northern Ireland ROC towards the end of 2017, once operational.
As part of the agreement, Lightsource will provide long-term operations and asset management services for the platform; building on the company’s experience providing these services for 1.9 GWp of utility scale solar assets in the UK.
Going forward, Lightsource and BlackRock Real Assets will target the acquisition of operational utility scale solar assets in the UK over a three-year period. The platform has both a levered and unlevered strategy, with the seed assets funded under the levered structure, with RBS providing project finance with an accordion feature for future acquisitions. This partnership will target both levered and unlevered asset opportunities.
When the partnership was announced, the following statements were released:
Lightsource Chief Investment Officer, Paul McCartie, said:
“We’re incredibly excited about this partnership with such an established and prestigious investor as BlackRock in the UK. Kingfisher is confirmation of our proven differentiation as a professional partner to institutional capital globally, and ability to create profitable and sustainable investment opportunities in the solar and energy broader market. 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. This is the clear differentiator between Lightsource and many other solar companies”.
Rory O’Connor, Managing Director and Head of Renewable Power for Europe at BlackRock said:
“We are pleased to partner with Lightsource in the creation of this new UK solar portfolio. Over the last two years, we have invested in more than 20 solar projects in the UK representing nearly 150-megawatt of capacity on behalf of our clients, and we believe this market continues to present attractive opportunities for institutional investors. In working closely together with Lightsource as a leading developer and operator of solar projects we are confident to realize a lot of additional potential in the market.”