The Irish solar energy project developer, BNRG Renewables, based in IFSC in Dublin, has completed the successful sale of two major solar parks in the UK with a combined capacity of 6 megawatts to renewable energy funds managed by alternative asset manager, the Foresight Group. Both solar parks are near Bridgewater in Somerset and were developed and sold by BNRG in partnership with Element Power. They were constructed and commissioned during 2011 under the UK Government’s Feed-in Tariff legislation designed to encourage construction of low carbon electricity generation from renewable energy technologies.
The rapid and dramatic changes to the UK’s Feed-in-Tariff during 2011 meant the construction window for both projects had to reduce from 12 to 3 months. David Maguire, director of BNRG Renewables led the team that took an innovative approach to the construction and delivery of the two high-quality projects in the dramatically reduced timeframe. “Unlike many companies within the European solar sector we have overcome a number of unforeseen challenges during the last 12 months,” he points out. “Our BNRG Element Power projects in the England have left us as one of a small number of development companies to successfully commission commercial-scale projects in the UK.”
BNRG Renewables was set up by David Maguire and Neil Holman in 2008. It is chaired by Ian Stuart, former managing director of Eagle Star Insurance in Dublin and currently chairman of Zurich Life Assurance in the UK. Aside from the two projects recently sold in Somerset, BNRG has a substantial pipeline of projects under development on the Isle of Wight and elsewhere in the south of England. It also has a development pipeline in south east Europe including 14MW in Bulgaria.
KPMG Ireland has acted as financial adviser to BNRG particularly in relation to fundraising and its ongoing strategy for solar development in EU markets. “BNRG is a great example of what Irish companies can achieve internationally in this sector with the right combination of development and technical skills. There is no reason why BNRG cannot go on to achieving similar success in new emerging solar markets,“ says Mike Hayes, head of renewable energy at KPMG.
Foresight Group now owns 16MW of solar PV systems in the UK. Combined with its projects in Italy and Spain, the group has over Eur300 million of solar assets accounting for more than 85 MW.
Members of the BNRG Renewables team (from left): Neil Holman, director; Michael Heather, head of property; Zara Petrova, project coordinator; David Maguire, director; and Gerry Gaydadzhieva, project sssistant.