Blackfinch Energy has signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract for one of the latest sites in its growing energy portfolio: Llwyndyrus Solar Farm Ltd (Llwyndyrus) in North Wales. This represents Blackfinch’s first subsidy-free development project.
Prior to Blackfinch’s involvement, Llwyndyrus already had in place the planning permission, grid connection offer and option to lease to install a six-megawatt (MW) solar farm at the site. Following the signing of the contract, work has now begun.
Blackfinch Energy is part of award-winning investment specialist Blackfinch Group. Across its businesses Blackfinch invests with consideration for environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.
Blackfinch Energy’s portfolio stands at 49MW of installed capacity (operational and under construction) across 47 individual sites and 14 project companies. Total generation capacity is circa 87 Giga watt-hours per annum. The portfolio is invested exclusively in ground-mount solar photovoltaics (PV), rooftop solar PV, and onshore wind assets. This ensures exposure to some of the lowest risk energy producing assets.
Blackfinch Group businesses continuously adapt to market change. In line with policy shifts in its sector, Blackfinch Energy is now investing in subsidy-free projects and acquiring projects earlier in the development lifecycle. Llwyndyrus is one of the first subsidy-free solar farms that will be built in Wales. In July 2019, Blackfinch Energy acquired the project from Luminous Energy Ltd through its energy investment holding company Sedgwick Trading Ltd.
Guy Lavarack, Investment Director at Blackfinch Energy, said: “We are delighted to have signed the engineering, procurement and construction contract on our first subsidy-free development for a large ground-mount solar site. This is an important milestone for the project. It also reflects how Blackfinch Energy is now actively developing new projects in its own name.
As a growing and acquisitive business, we continue working to meet the requirements of our investors, who are motivated to play their part in the global movement against climate change. The project will make an important contribution to the local community in Llwyndyrus as well as to the UK energy mix nationally.”
Natural Power supported Blackfinch on the procurement of the site. It also aided Blackfinch in running a tender for the contract.
David Dunne, Operations Manager at Natural Power, said: “This is the first time we have partnered with Blackfinch to deliver engineering and construction project management services. Our technical expertise complemented the financial and commercial acumen of Blackfinch to ensure a successful procurement process during the pre-construction phase. We now look forward to continuing our partnership throughout the construction phase as owner’s engineer, with the solar farm scheduled to enter commercial operation by the end of 2020.”
Grupotec was in negotiations with Blackfinch Energy from the beginning of 2020, with these completed ahead of the contract signing. Grupotec has commenced construction with the aim of being fully operational and connected to the grid by the end of the year. It will also have the operations and maintenance contract for the first two years post construction.
TLT provided legal advice on contract negotiations, along with advising on industry standards around commercial terms, plus processes and procedures.
Nick Pincott, partner at TLT, added: “We are continuing to see a real boost in the development of subsidy-free renewables, including in solar in England & Wales and wind in Scotland.
“We are very pleased to be working with Blackfinch on their development evolution as they move from operational projects, to shovel-ready sites and this, their first self-developed new build project.
“It was great to work with the Blackfinch team and Natural Power on yet another successful deal.”
The benefit of Blackfinch Energy’s investment in real assets such as wind and solar farms, is that it provides investors with returns which are uncorrelated with the recent volatility experienced in the wider stock market. As part of an established ESG investor, and as an active firm in the renewable energy space, Blackfinch Energy is looking to expand its portfolio. This is while the sector continues to evolve and deliver strong returns for investors. The team remains focused on investing in and developing sites across the UK.