Solarcentury, the global integrated solar power company with operations across Europe, Latin America and Africa, today announces that it has secured a new €54.8 million banking facility with NatWest and HSBC UK, which will be used to facilitate the construction of two utility-scale solar plants in Spain, with a combined generating capacity of 500MWp.
The new banking facilities comprise a €27.7 million Trade Loan from NatWest and a €27.1m million guarantees line from HSBC UK, with both sources of funding supported by UK Export Finance, the UK’s export credit agency. UKEF’s support will allow Solarcentury to access the working capital and bond support needed to fulfil the contracts.
The facilities will be used to support the construction of two of the largest private subsidy-free solar developments in Spain to date, namely:
• The 300MWp Talayuela Solar project in Cáceres, Extremadura, which reached financial close in November 2019 and will be one of the largest solar projects in Europe when it is fully operational in the second half of 2020, capable of producing enough energy to power 150,000 homes every year; and
• The 200MWp Cabrera Solar project in Alcalá de Guadaira near Sevilla, comprising four 50MWp plants, which are expected to be completed and connected to the grid by September 2020, producing enough electricity to cover demand from 105,000 households in the region.
Currently, Solarcentury has a 1GWp solar pipeline in Spain and a 5GWp pipeline globally.
Neil Perry, Chief Financial Officer of Solarcentury, said:
“Today’s announcement is testament to the strength of our business, Solarcentury’s unrivalled experience in developing and building large-scale infrastructure projects globally, and the significant investment potential of subsidy-free solar in Europe.
“With the project financing in place alongside these new facilities, construction has now begun on the landmark Talayuela project. Together with Cabrera Solar, where building commenced in July, these are two of the largest solar energy generation plants ever to be developed in Spain and among the most important in Europe, with a financing model that is free from public subsidies, while generating employment, respecting the environment and boosting the regional economy.”
Louis Taylor, UK Export Finance CEO, said:
“Renewables projects are emerging around the world and this deal highlights the strength of the UK’s offer. We’ve worked with the banks to ensure Solarcentury has the level of support required to deliver these two substantial solar projects. UKEF’s support means UK companies are well placed to win overseas contracts and exports in renewable and clean growth opportunities.”
Robert King, Head of Sustainability at HSBC UK, said:
“HSBC UK has committed to being a leader in sustainable finance and we are delighted to have provided Solarcentury with facilities which will enable the construction of zero carbon solar power generation in Spain and help realise their continued growth ambitions.”
Drew Hayes, Relationship Director at NatWest, said:
“NatWest is delighted to support Solarcentury with this new banking facility. Our close working relationship with UKEF played a key role in enabling us to develop a bespoke funding package for this important project. We are committed to becoming a more sustainable bank and supporting our key customers in this sector is an important part of this.”
In its financial year ended 31 March 2019, Solarcentury reported record EBITDA of £14.4m thanks to continued momentum in its international development strategy. Revenues from Solarcentury’s international project business increased by 119% to £91.3m (2018: £41.7m), driven by large-scale projects including its Spanish development activity and the construction of the 44MWp Budel solar farm in the Netherlands.
Continuing this momentum, earlier this year Solarcentury won 57MWp of solar power capacity in the latest solar auction in France – continuing its development of projects in the country – while announcing a renewed strategic focus on UK subsidy-free solar development and the planned expansion of its operations into the Italian solar market.