Rockfire Capital (“Rockfire”), a specialist investment management company, has announced that it has acquired Swindon Solar Park, one of the UK’s largest operational solar PV projects, from WELink Energy (U.K.) Ltd (“WELink”). The project, which was developed by British Solar Renewables (“BSR”), the UK’s leading fully integrated solar developer, has been built on land owned by the Science Museum Group (“SMG”), approximately 6km south of Swindon. The 172-acre site comprises 231,660 solar panels and has a capacity of 60.9 MW, making the project one of the largest solar assets in the UK. It will generate close to 60 GWh of electricity per annum, enough to supply over 15,400 homes and save around 35 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. It will also provide a major UK bank’s operations with renewable energy at a fixed price for the next decade at least, as a 15 year corporate power purchase agreement (“PPA”) has been negotiated with the company.
Swindon Solar Park beneficially utilises disused land and has been constructed to provide additional environmental benefits including enhancements to habitat and biodiversity for wildlife at the site. Native plants will colonise and thrive, bringing with them many other animals to become a buzzing, colourful haven for many under-threat species. Principal Rockfire investors in Swindon Solar Park include Warrington, Newham and Thurrock Borough Councils, who are amongst the first local authorities in the UK to invest in cleantech bonds. In the current low interest rate environment, councils are looking at alternative investments to drive returns that will support regional frontline services. Cleantech bonds are an innovative way to generate these returns and also create new ways for local community infrastructure to be improved without increasing costs to the taxpayer.
Commenting on the acquisition, Liam Kavanagh, Rockfire Founder & CEO said, “We are delighted to have completed the successful purchase of Swindon Solar Farm which adds to our growing portfolio of renewable energy assets and will support our plans to further expand in both the UK and European markets. “We have long been advocates of renewable energy and offer a range of ways for both institutions and individuals to invest in the sector, which has included the UK’s largest renewables mini-bond that offered 6 per cent returns. Renewable energy assets not only offer investors attractive and reliable yields, but are also a way for them to invest in something which positively impacts the environment.”
An online investment account and app for retail investors are currently in development, due to go live in 2017.