UK rail pension plugs £20m into solar debt deal

The Pensions Infrastructure Platform, acting on behalf of Railpen, has provided the funds needed to refinance rooftop solar assets owned by Foresight.

London-listed fund manager Foresight Group has refinanced a portfolio of 1,911 rooftop solar assets across the UK.

The liquidity was provided by the Pensions Infrastructure Platform, which acted on behalf of rail workers’ pension fund Railpen, one of the six founding investors of the platform.

The portfolio, installed in 2012 and based in England and Wales, has a capacity of 7.15MW and benefits from the UK’s feed-in tariff. The inflation-linked £20.3 million ($25.6 million; €24.2 million) financing provided for the assets is repayable over 19 years.

The deal comes just eight months after Foresight acquired the assets from Ingenious Infrastructure. Debt for the transaction was provided by Macquarie Bank in April.

PIP said the deal was similar to its debut investment from its Multi-Strategy Infrastructure Fund in July, when it provided £27.5 million to refinance 2,366 rooftop solar assets with a capacity of 6.71MW. Novatio Capital arranged the financing for both deals.

The MSIF has since made an equity investment in small-scale wind assets across the UK, acquiring 31 turbines from Golden Square Energy. The fund, which has a £1 billion target size, is still being raised.