Statkraft buys 326 MW of solar projects in Ireland

The Norwegian power company acquired the projects for around $17.3 million. The transaction indicates interest in large scale solar is on the rise in Ireland and unsubsidized projects are viable.

Norwegian hydropower and energy company Statkraft revealed in its third-quarter update it acquired a portfolio of PV projects in Ireland with a combined capacity of 326 MW.

The company said it acquired the special purpose vehicle owning the projects, JBM Solar Developments Limited, from Dublin-based developer JBM Solar for NOK158 million ($17.3 million) this month, with NOK70 million paid upfront.

The sizes and locations of the individual projects were not disclosed.

According to media reports, JBM Solar – which is backed by London-based PP Asset Management – is developing two solar parks at Sronagh, Mountmellick and Rathleague, a 35 MW facility near Dublin Airport and two more large scale PV plants in Co Laois and Co Wicklow.

Statkraft also operates in the PV markets of India, the Netherlands, Spain and the U.K. and wants to deploy 2 GW of solar generation capacity by 2025.

Unsubsidized solar

Ireland has attracted a rising number of large scale PV announcements in recent months. That would appear to indicate favorable conditions are materializing for unsubsidized projects given no auction for utility scale renewables is in sight.

For example, Bord na Móna and state-owned utility the Electricity Supply Board recently opened a tender to select an engineering, procurement and construction services contractor for a large scale solar project in Ireland and Irish Water revealed it is planning to install PV at up to 20 of its energy-intensive water treatment plants.

A report published this summer by London-based market intelligence firm Globaldata predicted Ireland will have 9.6 GW of non-hydro renewable energy generation capacity by 2030, of which 1.3 GW is expected to be solar. That estimate is considerably lower than the Irish Solar Energy Association’s, which foresees around 3.7 GW of PV capacity by that stage.

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