Project Finance Brief: Cero Generation Secures Financing for a 70 MW Solar Project in Italy

From: Mercom Capital Group

Cero Generation, a solar project developer and an independent portfolio company of Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, has achieved the financial close for its 70 MW Pontinia agrivoltaic solar PV project in Italy. The solar project is located in the province of Latina in the Lazio region and is among the first large-scale agrivoltaic project in the country.  The company said that the project uses single-axis trackers, bifacial modules, and string inverters to maximize performance and efficiency. The construction works will commence in May 2022. The project is expected to reach commercial operation in Q1 2023. The project will generate enough renewable electricity to power over 47,000 homes, avoiding around 40,000 tons of CO2 per year.

U.S.-based solar modules manufacturer First Solar has entered into a definitive agreement with funds managed by PAG Real Assets, under which PAG will acquire a 293 MW utility-scale solar project development platform and a solar operations and maintenance (O&M) platform with approximately 665 MW under management, in Japan. PAG expects to add First Solar’s project development platform to its existing portfolio of solar projects in Japan, bringing over 600 MW of capacity. Upon closing, the majority of First Solar project development and O&M employees in Japan will join PAG.

Aquila European Renewables Income Fund, an investment company, advised by Aquila Capital, announced that it has entered into a sale and purchase agreement to acquire 100% of a 30 MW operating solar PV project for an undisclosed amount, with closing expected by Q3 2022. The project is located in the Almeria region, in the south of Spain, which benefits from attractive solar irradiation yields. The project has an operating life of 30 years.


Goldbeck Solar, a renewable energy company, specializing in the construction of industrial, commercial, and solar PV projects, and its partner Respect Energy secured a PLN 635 million (~$ 140.6 million) loan for the 286 MW Zwartowo solar project in Poland. Together with its partner Goldbeck aims to accelerate renewable energy expansion in Poland. The financing for the project is provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Polish banks PKO Bank and Bank Pekao.

Solar developer and engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) company Rays Power Infra has sold its solar projects in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Telangana, India, to two global investors with a significant presence in India for an aggregate enterprise value of over ₹7 billion (~$90.55 million). According to the company, post this portfolio sale, it has become completely debt-free with additional cash to boost its next phase of green energy development. The company plans to use the funds to develop large-scale commercial and industrial (C&I) projects and mega solar parks across India.

MPower, renewable energy, battery storage, and microgrid company, announced that it accelerates its Build Own Operate (BOO) strategy with the proposed acquisition of the Lakeland Solar & Storage Project (the Project) located in Cooktown Shire, North Queensland, comprising a 10.8 MW solar project and an associated 1.4 MW/5.3 MWh lithium-ion battery storage facility. The project has been in operation since 2017 and benefits from a long-term power purchase agreement with Origin Energy until 2030 for 100% of the project’s output. The project has an expected remaining operating life of 20 years.

Bluefield Solar, the income fund focused on acquiring and managing UK-based renewable energy and storage assets, acquired a 93.2 MW operational solar and wind portfolio from a UK-based fund manager for £112.4 million (~$138.4 million). The portfolio comprises 15 solar PV projects with a total installed capacity of 64.9 MW and four wind projects with a total installed capacity of 28.3 MW. The portfolio is located across England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Five of the solar projects are accredited under the feed-in-tariff regime. Ten projects are accredited under the Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) regime with tariffs of 1.2-1.6 ROCs. All wind projects are accredited under the ROC regime, with tariffs of 0.9-1.0 ROCs.

ID Energy Group, a solar energy company, has sold 14 fully operational solar projects in Hungary to Danish solar investor Obton. With this acquisition, the Danish company increases its operating portfolio by more than 10 MW.

AMEA Power, a renewable energy company, reached financial close on the Zina solar project in Burkina Faso, with an installed capacity of 26.6 MW. The project is being built by Zina Solaire, a project company wholly owned by AMEA Power. The project has signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with SONABEL, a utility company, under a public-private partnership framework. Furthermore, the solar project is expected to avoid 13,200 tons of CO2 per year.

NextEnergy Solar Fund, a renewable energy investment company, announced that it had signed a co-investment with NextPower III ESG for an investment of €22.5 million (~$23.7 million), taking a 13% stake in a 210 MW solar project currently under construction in Santarem, Portugal. The project is expected to be completed by Q2 2023. The project is expected to benefit from a long-term power purchase agreement to sell electricity upon completion. The co-investment will be funded using headroom available within the Company’s revolving credit facilities.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is considering providing a sovereign loan of up to €22.5 million (~$23.7 million) to Kosovo to construct a solar thermal plant. The funding would be on-lent to municipal district heating company Termokos, owned by the city of Pristina, to co-finance the construction of the plant, which will provide additional heat energy capacity to the district heating network of the city. The project will be co-financed with a €17.5 million (~$18.5 million) loan from German state-owned investment and development bank Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW), as well as an investment grant of up to €25 million (~$26.4 million) from the German government.

Brazilian electricity distributor Energisa has finalized the acquisition of two companies that together owned a pair of solar distributed generation systems with a combined capacity of 5 MW. The acquisition was made through subsidiary Alsol Energias Renovaveis, and it is part of a transaction to purchase a 136 MW solar portfolio in the state of Minas Gerais, as Energisa announced in January.

For reports and trackers on funding and M&A transactions in solar, energy storage, smart grid, and efficiency sectors, click here.

Read last week’s project finance brief.