Hamburg / Munich, 21 December 2015 – The Hamburg private equity company CEE is expanding further internationally and is acquiring the Aston Clinton UK solar farm from BayWa r.e. renewable energy GmbH. Particularly high-quality components were used in modules from Astronergy and inverters from ABB / Power One in the Aston Clinton park. With a capacity of 24.2 megawatts (MW), the farm produces about 24,000 MWh of electricity from sunlight. It is fed into the local grid and used by McDonald’s Restaurant Ltd to supply its restaurants with clean power.
Aston Clinton is CEE’s fifth solar power investment in Europe outside Germany and the second in the UK. In 2014, CEE acquired Bicester solar park from BayWa r.e. Aston Clinton is near Aylesbury, about 65 km to the north west of London. BayWa r.e. was responsible for developing the farm – from the project planning stage to turnkey completion and grid connection in March 2015. The company will remain responsible for technical operations after the sale to CEE. CEE Operations, the CEE subsidiary that specialises in that field, will manage the commercial side.
CEE and BayWa r.e. have already jointly implemented two solar projects in Germany and the UK solar park in Bicester and intend to continue their partnership in European countries besides Germany. “BayWa r.e. is a proven, experienced and financially strong partner for CEE in the further expansion of its activities in the UK,” explains Detlef Schreiber, CEE’s CEO. Matthias Taft, the board member at BayWa AG responsible for energy, is also very satisfied: “Aston Clinton is the third successful project in which we have teamed up. We look forward to continuing to work well together on the basis of mutual trust. Through the technical operations we will remain associated with the project.” Following the acquisition of the new park in Aston Clinton, CEE’s solar portfolio has grown to about 260 MW.
In this case, debt funding was provided by Ärzteversorgung Westfalen-Lippe (ÄVWL), an institution of the Westfalen-Lippe Chamber of Doctors. It is the first time that CEE has obtained funding for a project from a partner outside the banking sector (private debt). “The collaboration with ÄVWL is very good and offers all involved parties an opportunity to earn more attractive returns than from alternative project finance offers,” says Schreiber. The benefits are mainly due to more favourable terms with regard to interest rates, maturity and repayment structure than those offered by conventional banks.
In the UK, solar PV farms with a total capacity of eight gigawatts (GW) are currently installed. Installed photovoltaic capacity has doubled in the UK in just 12 months. The aim is to reach about 22 GW and a solar energy share of 15 percent in total electricity consumption by 2020.
Advisers to the Aston Clinton project
|Technical due diligence||Evergy / Adler Solar Services|
|Legal due diligence||KEE / Eversheds LLP / Pinsent Masons|
|Financial due diligence||Saffery Champness|
Lampe Equity Management GmbH
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