The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) has made its first move into the solar energy market as part of a €140m co-investment in Dublin-based energy developer Power Capital, writes Geoff Percival.
The State-run commercial investment vehicle has teamed up with Capital Stage, a publicly-quoted Hamburg-based solar and wind park operator, on the investment which will see both take an equity stake in Power Capital.
The move ties in with the Government’s commitment to generate 40% of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020. ISIF will cover €35m of the total investment, with Capital Stage covering the remaining €105m.
“This partnership supports Ireland’s continued transition to a low carbon economy against a backdrop of Ireland possessing a solar resource similar to that in southern UK and northern Germany where solar energy has delivered steady returns for institutional investors,” said ISIF’s head of innovation and special investments Paul Saunders.
Power Capital has an Irish portfolio of more than 20 solar parks — including two Cork-based facilities at Youghal and Enniskeane — with a total generating capacity of 140 megawatts.
The new investment will help the company develop more than 20 new solar parks along the east and south-west coasts, from Louth to west Cork.
The individual parks will range in size from 5mw to 25mw.
Already planning permission has been secured for 110mw, with the remaining sites expected to secure permission before the end of March.