Next Energy Capital Commissions 2MW Solar PV Installation in Cornall and Unviewls new UK UK Solar Strategy

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WiseEnergy UK subsidiary launched to offer professional asset management services to UK investors.

London – 13th October 2011: NextEnergy Capital, the European Merchant Bank dedicated to the renewable energy sector, has marked the completion of its first utility-scale solar PV installation in the UK with the launch of a new solar strategy for the country. At its centre, the bank’s WiseEnergy subsidiary will offer asset management services – from administrative and financial to technical management– to UK institutional solar investors.

WiseEnergy’s first UK mandate is to manage operations at NextEnergy Capital’s Trevemper solar installation, a 2 MW development which was commissioned this week and constructed over the summer. The firm is in talks to take on comprehensive management and operation responsibilities for a string of other utility-scale UK solar developments owned by third parties.

Aldo Beolchini, Director at WiseEnergy, explains: “There are over twenty professional solar project owners in the City that have been impacted by changes to UK solar subsidy and policy. Similar to NextEnergy Capital , these investors had no choice but to complete the construction of their most advanced developments and shelve plans for a much bigger portfolio of UK solar assets. It no longer makes sense for these owners to invest in their own in-house asset management teams. The solution is outsourcing. We have brought our WiseEnergy subsidiary to the UK to fill this gap in the market.

“Asset management is a fundamental requirement in the solar sector, where people underestimate the potential for performance optimisation and the need to ensure professional technical management. There is a common misconception that PV stands for “Plain Vanilla” and that these assets can be left to operate on their own following grid connection; this is far from being true and our experience demonstrates that with active management these plants can perform better than expected, with exponential impact on the financial returns. With over fifty years’ combined solar management experience, our team is well placed to offer the UK market the independent asset management it now clearly needs.”

Since its launch in 2009, WiseEnergy has quickly become the largest solar PV asset manager in Europe, holding exclusive mandates to manage a 430MW solar PV portfolio for both investors and lenders in the sector, including UK and Scandinavian Investment Funds and the largest bank lender in Italy, now the largest solar market in the world. The firm has also established a firm footing in the South African market.

NextEnergy Capital remains committed to UK solar development but will now, through its NextPower Development arm, focus on residential PV networks and commercial and industrial rooftop installations. The bank is raising significant capital (£50m) and actively seeks development and investment opportunities in this space.

Michael Bonte-Friedheim, joint CEO and co-Founder of NEC, comments: “We still believe that solar development is fundamental to meeting the UK’s 2020 renewable targets. Changes in policy have scaled back our hopes of widespread industrial-scale development but if there is one silver lining, it’s that the uncertainty has forced the speculators to look elsewhere. We are in the UK to stay.

“We hold the firm belief that renewable energy, and solar in particular, can deliver economic and social development impacts that the UK should seek to take advantage of. We have huge experience from Italy to draw upon in this respect. Without utility-scale developments, the residential sector will clearly suffer from higher supply chain costs. But over time, the UK solar PV industry will require support from large numbers domestic workers, from installers and electricians to engineers and lawyers.”

NextEnergy Capital’s Financial Advisory team will continue to take on mandates involving M&A and capital market transactions for clients wishing to expand their presence in the renewable energy market.

About NextEnergy Capital: NextEnergy Capital is a London-based merchant bank focused on the renewable energy sector in Europe and South Africa.

In the field of private equity, NextEnergy Capital promotes, co-finances and manages funds whose objectives are to identify, acquire, realise and manage investment platforms in the renewable energy sector. These include power plants implementing different technologies (mainly photovoltaic, thermodynamic, biomass from algae and biofuel for aircrafts) in Europe, with the brand name NextPower.

NextEnergy Capital launched NextPower development, the largest development company in Italy, and WiseEnergy, the first European company specialised in solar asset management. In the field of Financial Advisory, NextEnergy Capital undertakes mandates involving M&A and capital market transactions for clients wishing to expand their presence in the renewable energy market. Over the past 18 months, NextEnergy Capital has arranged investments for €100m in the renewable market.

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