Iberdrola becomes one of the biggest players in the UK after acquiring 800MW of solar sites

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Iberdrola already has a 3MW portfolio of solar projects in the UK. Photo: Iberdrola.

Iberdrola has become one of the biggest solar players in the UK, having acquired 17 photovoltaic projects from Elgin Energy and Lightsource BP.

The projects – which are in the pre-construction phase – have a combined capacity of more than 800 MW, including 519 MW from Elgin Energy’s 12 projects. In addition to the solar site, Iberdrola’s UK subsidiary ScottishPower will also obtain a co-located 70MW energy storage project from Elgin as part of the deal.

All projects are expected to be operational by 2025 and require a total investment of around £500m.

The acquisition will increase Iberdrola’s share of solar power in the UK from 2% to 9% and confirms the company’s commitment to renewable energy in the country, he said.

Globally, Iberdrola had almost 3 GW of PV installed in September 2021, an increase of 89% compared to 2019. This included 4 MW of operational sites in the UK, as well as 31 GW of projects in development courses in Spain, United States, Mexico, United Kingdom, Portugal and Italy.

The company plans to double its photovoltaic capacity to 6 GW by the end of 2022, aiming for 14 GW by 2025.

“With the UK having built up a huge pipeline of utility-scale solar projects over the past few years, current market consolidation is dominated by pre-construction reversal of licensed sites,” the market research manager said. of Solar Media, Finlay Colville.

“Iberdrola’s announcement in question is fully aligned with the clear mandate of global utilities and IPPs to establish multi-GW renewable portfolios over the next 5-10 years. This type of activity is happening in many many countries around the world and there will be many more deals like this in the future.Acquiring sites from Elgin and Lightsource BP is one of the lowest risk avenues in the market today, as these companies have been two of the most successful, professional and transparent entities involved in the development of solar farms in the UK over the last 10 years,” says Colville.

In April 2021 ScottishPower submitted a planning application for up to 40MW of solar site, together with up to 50MW of battery storage and a 20MW electrolyser, as part of the continued construction of assets as an integrated green utility. In June, construction also began on the company’s solar farm at the Carland Cross hybrid wind, photovoltaic and energy storage site.

“Scottish Power itself has been actively involved in new solar development and construction in the UK over the last 12-18 months, relying primarily on its track record of owning and operating wind farms” , added Colville.

“However, parent company Iberdrola’s investment takes Scottish Power’s credentials to a whole new level, dramatically accelerating the scale of new solar sites that could be added to its portfolio over the next 2-3 years.”

The asset sale by Elgin Energy follows the developer’s sale of its 14MW solar portfolio in the Republic of Ireland to Greek industrial conglomerate Mytilineos. It has been particularly active over the past year, raising £25m and targeting 5GW in November 2021, as well as signing a new financing deal with German bank Berenberg to accelerate the deployment of projects in scale and completing a £4.35m fundraise with Focus Capital Partners to support the development of a 210MW portfolio of solar projects in the UK earlier this year.

“We are delighted to have reached this important milestone and to have partnered with Iberdrola / Scottish Power Renewables on this portfolio. We will continue to develop and deliver our portfolio of 5GW projects in the UK, Ireland and Australia, working closely with landowners, local authorities and all relevant stakeholders,” said Ronan Kilduff, CEO of Elgin Energy.

Lightsource BP has also significantly expanded its large-scale asset portfolio in recent years, including unveiling proposals for a 350MW site in North Anglesey, Wales.

The company has announced the return of large-scale solar construction to the UK solar market at the end of 2019, announcing that it will pursue a pipeline of 1GW projects. Throughout the past year he has continued to advance his UK portfolio, including securing planning permission for a 50MW solar farm near Castle Eden in Durham.

Overall, the UK’s utility-scale solar sector has grown significantly over the past year, pushing the country’s solar pipeline to a staggering 37GW, according to new research from Solar Media.

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