NextEnergy Invests in U.K. Solar Power Before Subsidies End

(Bloomberg) — NextEnergy Solar Fund Ltd., an investment
company that trades publicly in London, agreed to buy a solar-power plant and increase capacity at another before the U.K.
ends subsidies under its current program.

NextEnergy will acquire a 21.2-megawatt plant in Essex,
northeast of London, for about 22.9 million pounds ($34.3
million), it said Thursday in an e-mailed statement. The
investor will spend about 3.2 million pounds to add 2.6
megawatts at another site in Sussex, southeast England, taking
it to 15.3 megawatts.

Solar-energy developers in Britain are rushing to complete
projects before April, when the government will end subsidies to
sun-powered plants of more than 5 megawatts under its Renewables
Obligation
program. Thereafter developers must compete with
onshore wind farms for premium payments for their power as part
of reforms to the energy market.

Electricity from onshore wind currently costs about $82 a
megawatt-hour, cheaper than coal-fired power at $90.70. Solar
averages about $142, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The U.K. last week published the winners of its first subsidy-allocation round as part of the new measures. There were 15
successful onshore-wind applications, five solar and two
offshore wind.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Louise Downing in London at
ldowning4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at
landberg@bloomberg.net
Amanda Jordan, Randall Hackley

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