Power Capital Renewable Energy to borrow €240m for solar

EIB and others take a shine to Irish solar plan

Irish developer Power Capital Renewable Energy could borrow up to €240 million from European lenders to fund its local and international solar ambitions.

Owned by French-based private equity and infrastructure investor Omnes, Power Capital is developing solar-powered electricity generating plants in the Republic. The European Investment Bank (EIB) confirmed on Monday that it and Belgian insurer Ethias are among a group of backers that have agreed to loan up to €240 million to the Irish business to fund solar projects.

According to the EIB, the debt will aid Power Capital Renewable Energy’s plans to build solar generators capable of producing up to 1,200 megawatts (MW) of electricity, around three times the capacity of a normal power station.

Lenders have pledged an initial €100 million to fund Power Capital projects, whose electricity the company will sell through power-purchase deals with multinational Microsoft and another tech player , or for which it has secured guaranteed payments through a State support scheme.

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According to the EIB, the investors could provide a further €100 million to bankroll some of the company’s planned developments, while they could add up to €40 million for international expansion.

Paris-headquartered Eiffel Investment Group is leading the lenders’ consortium, the EIB noted.

Dublin-based Power Capital Renewable Energy is building solar-power plants that can generate up to 230MW of electricity across counties Wexford, Cork, Meath and Louth. It plans to begin work later this year on a further 300MW for which it has secured deals for guaranteed payments through the State’s Renewable Energy Support Scheme.

Justin Brown and Peter Duff, co-chief executives and founders, said the deal had lured “significant” backers to the Irish solar industry. “Having the support from Eiffel Investment Group, EIB and Ethias will allow us to rapidly expand our construction roll out over the next years.”

Michael Pollan, Omnes managing partner, predicted that the loans would allow Power Capital become the Republic’s biggest solar power generator at a time when the State was signalling that it needed more green energy.

Christian Kettel Thomsen, EIB vice-president, noted that the investment was one of the biggest ever in Irish solar power.

Joris Laenen, Ethias chief investment and life officer, explained that the deal fitted with its strategy to shift its portfolio to “less carbon intensive” industries.

Pierre-Antoine Machelon, Eiffel’s head of infrastructure, and Roman Londner, vice-president, said the group was “convinced” by Power Capital’s promising and diverse projects and the excellence of its team.

Eiffel manages €5 billion for clients including insurers, pension funds and other institutional investors.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas