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Sun shines for NextEnergy Solar Fund

By Ashley Norris

Sustainable power company reports strong set of figures, increasing output and improving shareholder returns

London-listed NextEnergy Solar Fund, which operates 89 solar assets across the UK and Italy, has reported that its projects produced 5 per cent more energy than expected.

Total return for shareholders rose to 6.7 per cent, almost twice the figure for the same period last year. It has also reduced net debt to £214m (€249m).

NextEnergy assets, which powered 134,000 UK homes over the half year, have a capacity of 705 megawatts. Overall the company generated 515 gigawatts per hour of electricity in the period, which it claims prevented 131,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

Chairman Kevin Lyon said: “NextEnergy Solar Fund’s robust first half results were characterised by another period of outperformance, resulting not only from high levels of solar irradiation but also from technical, financial and operational improvements across the portfolio.”

Chief executive Michael Bonte-Friedheim was also bullish telling City AM: “We continue to outperform our listed peers in the sector over the past five years.”

He added that the company, which is leading investment in subsidy-free UK solar plants, had consistently produced more electricity than expected since 2014.

The company also cited the success of its maiden subsidy-free plant, Hall Farm II, in Leicestershire, which was energised in the period.

A more powerful 50 megawatts plant is currentlybeing built and is due for commissioning by the end of the financial year.

The company benefited from the relative cheapness of solar power and continuing demand for sustainable energy, driven by fears of climate change.

The UK is actually one of the leading states in Europe for solar power. A report commissioned by Greenmatch, the green energy online marketplace, found that solar capacity in the UK has increased from 5,488.6 MW in 2014 to 13,259 MW in June 2019.

The UK’s maximum net generating solar capacity was 13.1 GW in 2018 – third among European states, beaten only by Italy and Germany.

FURTHER READING: Renewable energy set for growth

FURTHER READING: Total value of green bonds to top $1 trillion by summer 2020

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