Ampere Equity Fund acquires majority stake in an Italian solar PV portfolio developed by Winch Energy
01-11-2010 | Zeist
Ampere Equity Fund acquired a majority stake in a 9.7 MW portfolio of ground mounted solar PV projects developed by Winch Energy in the Region of Puglia, Italy. Winch Energy will retain the balance of the equity. The projects are to be constructed during Q4 2010/Q1 2011 with equity funding from Ampere Equity Fund and senior debt arranged and provided by Investec Bank PLC.
The projects comprise a total of 46 hectares of land in the high radiation Region of Puglia and will produce enough electricity to power some 4,000 households and avoid 8,500 tonnes of C02 per year.
In developing these projects, Winch Energy has partnered with United Solar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENER). The majority of projects will be fitted with UNI-SOLAR® brand PVL-144 photovoltaics with the balance carrying polycrystalline modules manufactured by Astronergy, a division of Chint. The projects are to be built by Global Energy Services and are expected to be connected to the grid by April 2011, benefiting from the attractive 20 year Italian feed in tariff.
Both Ampere Equity Fund and Winch Energy have expressed satisfaction in the creation of this new partnership:
Joris van der Geest, Fund Manager of Ampere Equity Fund said: “Through this partnership with Winch Energy, we have made our first step into solar pv in Italy, which is an important target market for Ampere Equity Fund. Based on its local experience and know how, Winch Energy has been able to develop a strong portfolio of quality projects in an attractive region. This transaction is a strong basis for further investments together. We have invested in this portfolio with the intention to provide long term, stable returns to our investors.”
Nicholas Wrigley, Chairman and Founder of the Winch Energy Group said: “This partnership with the Ampere fund is the beginning of a new and exciting phase for the Winch Energy Group which will see Winch Energy move from being a pure developer to a long term owner and operator of solar PV projects. I expect that the partnership with Ampere will see the number of projects under co-ownership increase significantly over the next year starting from this base.”
Adam Gordon, of Investec Project and Infrastructure finance said: “We are pleased to support Winch and Ampere in this milestone transaction cementing their partnership. We are delighted to have closed another solar transaction and look forward to building on this relationship in the future as Winch and Ampere deliver their pipeline. Renewable energy is an important sector for Investec globally and we have recently provided senior or mezzanine funding for projects in the wind, landfill gas, geothermal, hydro-electric, bio-fuels, biomass and solar sectors.”
Ampere Equity Fund
Ampere Equity Fund, managed by Triodos Investment Management, invests in renewable energy projects in Western Europe, with amounts in the range of EUR 10-50 million equity per investment. The fund focuses on investments in energy producing assets applying proven technology, such as onshore wind, offshore wind, solar PV, concentrated solar power and biomass power plants, providing stable and predictable long term returns for its investors. The Fund has attracted major Dutch institutional investors with a total committed capital of EUR 320 million which provides certainty of funding for its investment strategy until the end of 2011. Triodos Investment Management is a subsidiary of Triodos Bank with over 25 years’ experience in renewable energy investments.
Winch Energy Group
The Winch Energy Group is a privately owned group of companies which develops solar PV projects in key Mediterranean countries, including France, Italy and North Africa. The Winch Energy Group has also more recently started development activities in the United Kingdom and India. Winch’s strategy is to develop green field projects and acquire third party near-term projects, procure the funding for the construction of such projects and to manage such projects once in operation, whilst maintaining a long term ownership interest. The Group currently has over 250 MWP of projects under development and its operations, which are managed by Winch Energy Engineering, the Group’s engineering subsidiary, includes all phases of the development cycle: project feasibility, engineering review and studies, project development and permitting, acquisition of near term projects ready for construction and the construction and the operational management of projects. The Winch Energy Group’s medium term strategy is to become a significant owner and operator of solar PV projects.
Energy Conversion Devices/United Solar
Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) (NASDAQ: ENER) is a leader in building-integrated and rooftop photovoltaics. The company manufactures, sells and installs thin-film solar laminates that convert sunlight to energy using proprietary technology. ECD’s UNI-SOLAR® brand products are unique because of their flexibility, light weight, ease of installation, durability and real-world efficiency. Through its Solar Integrated Technologies business, the company also designs, manufactures and installs rooftop photovoltaic systems which enable customers to transform unused space on the rooftop into a value-generating asset. In addition, ECD's Ovonic Materials Division is the pioneer in NiMH battery technology and is developing low cost fuel cells, hydrogen production from bioreformation and hydrogen storage technologies.
Investec Bank is one of the leading providers of subordinated, mezzanine and senior finance to renewable energy projects in its target markets. The European team of Investec Project and Infrastructure Finance is based in London and has extensive experience in both the conventional power and renewables sectors, in project finance, equity investment and acquisition financing. The team includes specialists with legal, engineering, project development and financing expertise, enabling Investec to quickly establish a deep understanding of each project. At the forefront of energy finance, Investec has provided finance to conventional thermal power projects, waste to energy projects, and other renewable energy sectors such as wind power, landfill gas, geothermal, hydro-electric, bio-fuels, biomass and solar.
- Watson, Farley & Williams LLP provided legal and tax advice to Winch Energy
- Winch Engineering provided technical and engineering advice to Winch Energy
- Clifford Chance LLP provided legal and tax advice to Ampere Equity Fund and Investec Bank PLC
- Norton Rose LLP provided legal and tax advice to Ampere Equity Fund
- Fichtner GmbH & Co KG provided technical advice to Ampere Equity Fund and Investec Bank PLC
- Evergy Engineering provided technical advice to Ampere Equity Fund
- Operis provided financial modeling advice and audit services to all parties
- AON provided insurance advice to all parties and arranged insurances
- Proaxxes provided market advice to Ampere Equity Fund