NextEnergy Capital launches £500m solar fund with support from UK Infrastructure Bank

NextEnergy Group launches project developer arm Starlight

Since it was set up in 2008, NextEnergy Group has developed over 100 utility-scale solar projects. Image: NextEnergy Capital.

NextEnergy Group has launched a new company dubbed Starlight, targeting the development of 5GW of renewable energy assets globally in the next three years.

The company will initially target early-stage solar PV projects in key geographies where NextEnergy already has existing experience. It will look at both greenfield and brownfield sites, with plans to work alongside local developers.

Beyond this, Starlight will look to expand into new jurisdictions, into energy storage, into both onshore and offshore wind and green hydrogen, as well as potentially other avenues.

“Our ambition with Starlight is to create an ethical, global project development business that continues to contribute to the NextEnergy Group mission in leading the transition to clean energy,” said Aldo Beolchini, Group CIO and head of development at Starlight.

“Starlight adds to the Group’s capabilities, creating new synergies and strengthening our position as one of the leaders across the global renewable energy sector”.

The company has been created through internal reassignment in NextEnergy Group, with more than 30 professionals now working for Starlight. Between them, these professionals have c.2.2GW of solar PV projects in development or operation in Italy and this UK, including the 75MWp Strensham solar PV plant, which the company says is the largest operating plant in the UK.

NextEnergy Group also recently added a 1.3GW of solar in Greece to its pipeline, as well as further projects being assessed in the US, Poland, Spain, Chile and India.

Since it was set up in 2008, the group has developed over 100 utility-scale solar projects, with a capacity in excess of 2GW. To date, it has invested over £2.4 billion ($3.2 billion) in solar assets across four continents.

With the launch of Starlight, the group now has three business units; investment manager NextEnergy Capital, operating asset manager WiseEnergy and now project developer Starlight.

NextEnergy Capital has been particularly active in the UK over the last year, signing a virtual power purchase agreement with Goldman Sachs in February and a corporate power purchase agreement with global law firm DLA Piper in January. 

In December 2021, it also launched a £500 million subsidy-free solar fund, with up to £250 million to come from the UK Infrastructure Bank.

Gianluca Boccanera, managing director at Starlight called the launch of the project developer “a truly exciting milestone for the NextEnergy Group.”

“Starlight has instantly benefitted from the existing team’s deep knowledge in the solar sector and is seeking to grow its team further as well as to work in partnership with local developers. The entrance in the Greek market for the development of a solar PV pipeline of 1.3GW is only a first step to expand our current leadership in the Italian and UK markets, in conjunction with the early development of other types of renewable energy projects.”

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