Highfield Solar secure €160m financing for Irish Solar PV duo
Berlin/Germany, Dublin/Ireland, Bristol/UK, 19/07/2021. In one of the first large-scale Solar PV construction financing deals in Ireland, Highfield Solar has secured project financing to fund the construction and operation of two Solar PV projects totalling 282MWp of installed capacity.
Highfield Solar Limited, a joint venture established in 2014 between German company ib vogt, Irish company Highfield Energy and UK company Aura Power, has successfully reached financial close on a €160 million project financing debt facility for two solar PV plants in Ireland. The lenders for the projects are Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A., Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) and Norddeutsche Landesbank (NORD/LB), providing one third of the senior debt each, consisting of a blend of KFW and commercial loans.
Both Solar PV projects were successful participants in the Government of Ireland’s first competitive Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS 1) auction run by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications in 2020. The RESS auctions have been designed to promote investment in renewable energy and deliver on Ireland’s 70% renewable electricity target by 2030. Highfield Solar is proud to be contributing to this important goal on the path to the decarbonisation of Ireland’s electricity system.
Participation in the RESS scheme will guarantee that communities, clubs and societies local to each of the Solar PV projects will benefit from funding of approximately €200,000 each year for the duration of the term of RESS support of 15 years.
“We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone and we are now looking forward to completing both of these Solar PV projects. This is the result of years of planning and investment. The three partners have enjoyed a very positive relationship and combined their resources, capabilities, experience and knowledge to create these first class projects. As a company based in Ireland, we are hugely proud of our role in attracting such significant investment into the country for a renewable electricity generation project. It is also very important to us that the establishment of the associated community benefit funds will make significant contributions to the respective localities over the next decade and beyond”, says Peter Kavanagh, Managing Director at Highfield Energy
“The collaboration with our joint venture partners Highfield Energy and Aura Power has been outstanding and closing on these projects shows the dedication of all involved parties to bring clean energy to Ireland. Concluding the financing process would not have been possible without the conviction of our financing partners in renewable energy projects and their competence in funding them”, says Anton Milner, Managing Director of ib vogt GmbH.
“It’s exciting to see these projects achieving this significant milestone after a lot of hard work from all involved. These two projects will deliver over 25% of the total RESS1 volume awarded to solar PV and will hopefully pave the way for many more solar PV transactions in the Irish market.” Says Simon Coulson, Director at Aura Power.
With a total capacity of 141 MWp, the Rosspile solar PV plant will be located on a ca. 140-hectare site near the village of Foulksmills in the County Wexford, the highest yield area of the country.
The Gillinstown solar PV plant with the same capacity will be located on a 123-hectare site near the village of Duleek, County Meath.
Both projects will utilize high-capacity bifacial modules on fixed-tilt support structures for optimized land use and efficiency. Work on the grid connection infrastructure has already commenced and Solar PV construction is expected to be completed in July 2022 for Rosspile and October 2022 for Gillinstown.
Ib vogt has provided development funding and technical engineering support to Highfield Solar and will provide EPC and initial O&M services for the PV projects.