Solar investor NextEnergy targets Europe, America, India in global debut | Daily News


Solar investor NextEnergy targets Europe, America, India in global debut

NextEnergy Capital is to target the US, Mexico, India and various European states with its first ever international solar investment fund, embarking on a worldwide trek following its subsidy-free debut in the UK and at a time when the global industry is booming.

“Our first international structure comes as we see solar growth everywhere and will allow us to look for the most extractive opportunities on a risk-adjusted basis, without regional constraints,” CEO Mike Bonte-Friedheim said as he met PV Tech at the firm’s London offices this week.

The interview – held shortly after the firm’s Next Power III (NPIII) fund raised US$280 million of a US$750 million target – saw the executive shed light on the geographic priorities of the firm’s new vehicle, which comes to join its Italy- and UK-focused first and second predecessors.

In India, where years ago NextEnergy was asked to manage six PV plants for a foreign owner, the firm now hopes to close its first deals as an investor in Q1 2020. “We’ve been cautious and spent long figuring out what states and investment areas are best,” Bonte-Friedheim explained.

Over in the US, the firm already owns a 102MW operational PV plant and a 37MW duo under and nearing construction. “We see the US growing exponentially over the next 5 to 10 years regardless of the political situation,” the CEO pointed out. “We’re increasing our team quite significantly.”

Across the border, NextEnergy may sign its maiden Mexican solar acquisitions in Q1 2020. The firm will be open to both state and private PPA offtakers, the executive says, adding: “It is fully possible to deploy without government support in Mexico, if you’ve got the right industrial offtaker.”

NextEnergy’s journey to the group it is today – 170 employees, 1GW of installed PV capacity, business verticals in asset development, investment management and operational asset management – started in Italy in 2007, when it started tapping into feed-in tariffs (FiTs) to deploy a diverse mix of PV projects.

After Italy scrapped FiT support, the firm would go on to stage two forays into the UK market.

The first was FiT-based but the second saw NextEnergy set up its own listed fund NESF, which since its 2014 IPO has grown from £85 million (US$111 million) to £730 million (US$953 million) in value.


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