Dublin-based solar developer BNRG raises €115m after Neoen deal

Dublin-based solar power developer BNRG is currently raising up to €115m in debt and equity, after entering into an asset swap deal with former partner Neoen.

NRG founder David Maguire said the funding is the first part of his plan to raise €500 million in total by 2025. The funding will be invested next year in developing Irish assets and Americans.

Last year, the company partnered with Paris-listed renewable energy company Neoen for a €39 million contract for three solar parks in Wicklow, Meath and Kildare, with a total capacity of 58MW .

They were part of the government’s Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) 1 support scheme auction in 2020.

Société Générale had provided a senior non-recourse debt facility for this transaction, in addition to the equity provided by BNRG and Neoen.

Maguire said broadly Neoen acquired the three RESS 1 developments, while his company acquired his former partner’s stake in the rest of a 250MW solar portfolio, declining to go into specifics.

The two companies previously teamed up in a 220 million euro joint venture in 2017, having then planned to develop 200 MW of solar power in 23 projects.

Last week, four of BNRG’s Irish solar projects, with a total capacity of 56MW, were approved under RESS 2. Construction on these will start early next year and will require around 40m euros of investment.

The Irish company is also developing solar projects in the UK and Australia, with the option of investing a further €30 million in new projects in the UK.

Since 2007, it has developed 194 MW of projects in the United States, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Ireland and Greece.

Maguire criticizes the regulatory and planning environment for renewable energy in Ireland.

“The permit system and interconnection process here is not adequate. Our solar and wind energy costs are higher than in the UK or EU. Wind farms are the most profitable, but technology-specific auctions could lead to lower electricity prices for consumers.

“Ireland is a relatively small market, which makes it difficult to attract large capital providers to the sector, which contributes to higher electricity prices.

“We are the most energy-threatened nation in Europe, but political will is needed to apply relatively simple solutions to most of these problems.”

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