UK solar company secures funding to build two major solar plants in Spain

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UK-based solar energy company, Solarcentury, has secured new financing to build two of the largest solar plants in Spain demonstrating the UK’s leadership on climate change.

UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency, has today (7 January 2019) guaranteed £47.6 million worth of financing for Solarcentury, in a boost to UK solar exports.

Together, the developments will generate enough energy to power more than a quarter of a million homes each year with renewable energy.

The new banking facilities comprise a £24.7 million trade loan facility from NatWest and a £22.9 million guarantees line from HSBC UK, with both sources of funding supported by UK Export Finance. UKEF’s support will allow Solarcentury to access the working capital and bond support needed to fulfil the contracts.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said:

British companies are taking the lead in developing solutions that tackle climate change and provide clean energy to thousands.

I’m glad to see that this – underpinned by the UK’s legally binding commitment to end our contribution to climate change by 2050 – is bearing fruit on the international stage for exporters.

We must focus on a low-carbon future and my department is ready to help what will become a very important part of the economy sell overseas.

The funding will secure the construction of two of the largest private subsidy-free solar developments in Spain to date:

  • the 300MWp Talayuela Solar project in Cáceres, Extremadura, 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

  • 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.

Solarcentury, headquartered in London, has been selling renewable energy solutions for 21 years. The company’s continued focus on its overseas business strategy means that exports now account for 90% of all sales.

There are now approximately 400,000 people working in green collar jobs in the UK, increasing the national income while reducing emissions. This could climb to two million by 2030.

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, generating employment, respecting the environment and boosting the regional economy.

Louis Taylor, Chief Executive of UK Export Finance, said:

We’re seeing an increasing number of renewables projects 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 highlights that UK companies are well placed to win overseas contracts and exports in renewable and clean growth projects.

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.

Background

UK Export Finance is the UK’s export credit agency and a government department, working alongside the Department for International Trade as an integral part of its strategy and operations.

It exists to ensure that no viable UK export lacks for finance or insurance from the private market. It provides finance and insurance to help exporters win, fulfil and ensure they get paid for export contracts.

Sectors in which UKEF has supported exports include: infrastructure, aerospace, healthcare, telecommunications, transport and industrial development.

UKEF has a regional network of 24 export finance managers, who support UK businesses export their goods and services.

UKEF support exporters with a range of products that include:

  • Bond insurance policy
  • Bond support scheme
  • Buyer & supplier credit financing facility
  • Direct lending facility
  • Export insurance policy
  • Export refinancing facility
  • Export working capital scheme
  • Letter of credit guarantee scheme

The latest information on UKEF’s country cover positions can be found here.

If you’re a business owner and want to learn more about how UKEF could help you, tell us about your business.

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