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BNRG instrumental in securing European Renewable Energy Finance Forum (REFF) for Dublin

Dublin is to host the European Renewable Energy Finance Forum (REFF) for the first time generating a €600,000 windfall for the local economy with close to 400 senior delegates arriving into the capital. Following a successful campaign from BNRG Renewables with assistance from the Green International Financial Services Centre (GIFSC).

The conference is being hailed as a major opportunity for companies in Ireland’s renewable sector to win investment and create jobs as those attending the conference have some $65 billion earmarked for deployment this year alone.

Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources – Pat Rabbitte TD, said: “The Irish Government has indicated that the green economy is a core area of focus for economic recovery and employment creation. Attracting such a major European event to Ireland in favour of other countries shows how Ireland is now recognized as a centre of excellence for renewable energy investment and financing.

BNRG played a pivotal role in securing this event for Dublin which takes places over September 23 and 24 after event organisers Euromoney considered a shortlist of London, Frankfurt and Dublin. This will will be the first time Europe’s largest renewable energy finance and investment event has taken place outside London in more than 15 years.

Dublin Castle is the venue for the two-day conference which will unite investors with project developers and senior executives from across the renewable energy and technology sectors this autumn. The majority of delegates are executive level and decision makers in the renewable energy, asset management and investment communities and speakers are industry leaders from around the globe but with a particular interest in renewable energy finance and asset management in Europe.

In their second year as Silver Sponsors to the event, BNRG’s Director David Maguire stated: “We are delighted to be associated, once again, with the leading renewable energy finance event in Europe. This is great news for Ireland and a great opportunity to have close to 400 key decision makers from the global industry right here in Dublin.

L to R: David Guest (Chairman of the GIFSC), David Maguire (Founder and CEO of BNRG Renewables)<br />and Pat Rabbitte TD - Minister for Communications, Energy &amp; Natural Resources
L to R: David Guest (Chairman of the GIFSC), David Maguire (Founder and CEO of BNRG Renewables) and Pat Rabbitte TD – Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources

“BNRG, a regular contributor to the event over the years, has been working on attracting REFF to move to Dublin since September 2013 and thanks to  the assistance of the GIFSC, Ireland has finally secured this event.”

Henry Healy-Hutchinson, CEO of Euromoney, said: “It is with great pride – after 15 years in London – that we move REFF-Europe to Dublin for September 2014.  This is testament  to the dynamism of the renewable energy industry in Dublin. We undertook a poll of our clients and the majority – many from continental Europe – asked us to move to Dublin and we are confident that the event will be a massive success this year!”

First utility scale solar farm on the island of Ireland

Planning permission has been granted for the first utility or large scale solar farm on the island of Ireland.

The 5.1 megawatt (MW) facility, being developed by BNRG Northern Power, will be located in East Down on the outskirts of Downpatrick in Northern Ireland and will deliver an investment of €7.6 million and support around 50 jobs during construction and up to five long-term employment opportunities.

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David Maguire, Founder and Director of BNRG said that “The Company was delighted to become the first company to gain planning permission for a solar farm of this scale in Northern Ireland and indeed on the island of Ireland.” The company has revealed it has a committed pipeline of similar projects in East Down which would bring its initial combined investment to circa €44 million.

According to Sean McMullan, Senior Project Manager the new photovoltaic (PV) park will be capable of generating sufficient electricity to power 1500 homes every year during its 30 years proposed life-span. It will take just three months to construct the 20,300 ground-mounted PV panels and related equipment for the 27-acre solar farm. The height of the panels above ground level will not exceed 2.5 meters thus causing no visual impact. It is expected that the project will actually enhance biodiversity on the site which is a benefit of solar power over other forms of power generation.

Mr McMullan said: “There are currently only around five megawatts solar energy produced in Northern Ireland, from mainly small-scale roof-mounted panels. We believe there is considerable potential for large-scale solar generation here, particularly as a genuine alternative to other forms of renewable energy generation such as wind. This new project will more than double the total installed solar power capacity in Northern Ireland”.

Solar PV benefits from being easy to install, enjoys widespread public support and has a major role in connecting individuals, communities and businesses. In addition to supporting economic regeneration it also helps sustain our environment and reduce carbon emissions. The granting of approval for this scheme is great news for Northern Ireland.

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For more information contact:

Contact: Bernadett Veress, Project Assistant

email: bveress@bnrg.ie, tel.: +353 1 7917882

BNRG Renewables Limited

Dublin Exchange Building, I.F.S.C., Mayor Street, Dublin 1, IRELAND
t. +353 1 7917882

BNRG Renewables

BNRG Northern Power, a BNRG Group company is a wholly owned subsidiary of BNRG Renewables based in Dublin’s IFSC, BNRG Renewables is one of the fastest growing solar developers in Europe with almost 65 MWs of capacity developed and constructed in the last twelve months in the UK alone. The company specialises in large, utility scale, solar energy projects and is currently developing a UK pipeline of over 80 megawatts for 2014/2015. To date, BNRG has developed and constructed over €130 million worth of utility projects across Europe.

BNRG Renewables is an international Renewable Energy development group founded in 2007. Based in Dublin, the company has projects under development in in seven countries across three continents. BNRG specialises in developing utility-scale solar photo-voltaic (PV) plants. The power plants are zero carbon emission, helping to lower overall carbon emissions whilst offering investors long term stable and attractive financial yields.

BNRG & Abundance Generation launch first inflation-linked renewable energy investment

Now even small investors can get inflation protection while supporting renewable energy and the real economy

  • Irish based solar renewable energy developer BNRG Renewables, through UK based crowdfunding platform Abundance, and offers the first renewable energy investment in the UK with returns directly linked to RPI.  Minimum investment is just £5 and can be held for as long as 20 years, with your capital returned in equal instalments over this term, or traded earlier.
  • While BNRG have previously successfully funded one of their solar developments through Abundance, this is their first project in which Irish resident investors can invest.
  • This latest offering is for BNRG Gorse – a solar energy project seeking £730,000 to install two 249kW ground-mounted solar arrays on two sites in Kent, both about to go into construction
  • This is the second project offered by BNRG Renewables through Abundance, the first being BNRG Hoo Solar which has consistently done well and is already paying above its projected return to investors. 

Dublin, 10th December 2013 – Abundance Generation, the FCA-regulated democratic finance platform, today launches the first renewable energy project with returns linked directly to RPI. Investors with as little as £5 to spare will be able to enjoy ongoing, long term protection of their money from erosion by inflation, with an additional return on top, while supporting the real economy and renewable energy development in this country.

The project – BNRG Gorse – will see the installation of two 249kW ground mounted solar arrays with the possibility of a third and will make annual payments to investors made up of capital, an amount reflecting the impact of the preceding December’s inflation rate according to the RPI and a top-up amount of interest of 1% that will also increase each year in line with the RPI.

David Maguire, co-founder and director of BNRG Renewables said:

“We are very excited to launch the funding of the BNRG Gorse solar project through an Abundance debenture, our second such debenture offering and the very first in which Irish investors can also invest. This debenture is a great way to diversify our funding base, recycle our capital into further solar developments and deliver on our belief that the public should be able to invest directly into renewable assets and become stakeholders in the future of clean renewable energy”

Bruce Davis, co-founder and joint Managing Director of Abundance Generation said:

With literally hundreds of billions of pounds of people’s savings in deposit accounts paying less than inflation, it is tragic to think this hard-earned money is just sitting there, being eaten alive by inflation. Abundance is committed to providing radically better solutions for people who are watching their savings shrink and their investments go up and down like yo-yos”

BNRG Gorse is seeking up to £730,000 to refinance the installation of two 249kW sites in Kent and £1.13m if they can build a third on the Isle of Wight, from people with as little as £5 to invest. Full planning permission has already been granted for all three sites and construction starts this month for the first two.

This is the second project from BNRG Renewables offered through Abundance, with the first – BNRG Hoo Solar – also in Kent, proving a great success already.  BNRG raised its full target of £385,000 for Hoo Solar back in March 2013 to refinance an existing 249 kW solar installation, and in September paid its first cash return to investors at 8.4% over the amount it was projected to.

Investment in projects offered by Abundance is made through the purchase of Debentures in the project – official IOUs that commit to pay inflation-linked returns on top of the original capital.  Returns will be paid in single or twice yearly payments over the term of the project (depending on the project), although investors wishing to cash in early can sell their holdings on to others via the Abundance website.

Capital is at risk and returns are variable.  Investments are long term and not readily realisable.

For further information or assistance, please contact: 

Martin Campbell on +44 7802 634 695 or martin@beaconstrategic.com

Bernadett Veress on +353 1 791 7882 or bveress@bnrg.ie

About Abundance Generation

Abundance is the FCA-regulated finance platform allowing small investors to invest directly in UK renewable energy projects with as little as £5. This new form of ‘democratic finance’ – building on the success of peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding and other forms of ‘people-powered finance’ – opens the door for ordinary people to support and participate in the benefits of renewable energy.

Debenture

The Abundance debenture is a type of bond as commonly used by large companies to borrow money and is their first to offer a return linked to inflation. Abundance is the first financial service to use debentures to enable small investors to fund renewable energy projects in the UK.

Effective rates of return will vary across the different projects, and over time in each project.

Abundance and Abundance Generation are trading names of Abundance NRG Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (no. 525432).

 

Abundance Generation

BNRG Gorse Crowd Funded investment  Link

BNRG Gorse Crowd Funded Project Statistic Counter

BNRG Renewables – Winner at the Solar Power Portal Awards

The winners of the Solar Power Portal Awards were announced last Tuesday. BNRG Hoo Solar by BNRG Renewables and Abundance Generation received the award for the “Most innovative marketing campaign”. Nick Holman, a newly appointed Director at BNRG received the award with Louise Wilson of Abundance Generation.

UK’s leading renewable energy resource Solar Power Portal launched the Awards this year to recognise the best in solar in the UK. Focusing on all areas of the solar industry, the purpose of the awards is to recognise and celebrate good practice, professionalism, quality, safety and innovation, with the aim of being a marker of the brightest and best that UK solar has to offer.

BNRG Renewables developed the project, a 250kW groundmounted solar installation, at Hoo Farm in Kent in July 2012. After operating for a period of six months, BNRG turned to Abundance Generation, which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, to help it refinance the project by issuing debentures to the general public in return for a share of the profits. This is the first project of its type ever to be funded by crowdfunding.

The judges commented that the campaign for Hoo Solar by BNRG Renewables and Abundance Generation winner of the most innovative marketing category demonstrated “an appeal not just for small investors” looking for a new venture, but also helped heighten awareness as to what solar is and can do for a community.

Hoo FarmHoo Farm is located at Monkston Road in Kent and it is one of the smaller sites developed by BNRG in UK. Constructed in July 2012 the project represents an excellent example of the high quality of build and ‘best-in-class’ implementation that BNRG has become known for. In 2013 Hoo Farm has generated a return to investors in excess of expectations due to its remarkably high performance ratio. As well as its recognition as part of these awards, the project has gained the interest of the World Bank as an innovative solution for funding renewable energy projects where traditional banking may be unavailable. The average investment was £1,000, but can be as little as £5.

On the back of the success of Hoo Solar, BNRG are proposing to use this crowdfunding platform to raise finance for a number of larger UK projects that they intend to hold on their balance sheet. Nick Holman stated that ‘BNRG is delighted to receive this award, it’s a testament to the innovative way in which BNRG continues to produce best in class projects’.

Irish solar company BNRG Renewables is one of the fastest growing solar developers in Europe with almost 40 megawatts of capacity developed in the UK alone during 2013. The company specialises in large, utility scale, solar energy projects and is currently developing a UK pipeline of over 80 megawatts for 2014. To date, BNRG has developed and constructed over €150 million worth of utility projects across Europe.

Capital is at risk and returns are variable. Investments are long term and not readily realisable.

Link to article at Solar Power Portal published 0n the 9th of October 2013

Solar Power Portal Awards Spotlight for the award in 2013

BNRG to sell bundled UK solar projects in 120MW pipeline to yield investors

In Interview:  Irish photo voltaic project developer BNRG Renewables will bundle solar assets in its UK pipeline of up to 120MW to attract institutional funding, and retain some assets on balance sheet, co-founder David Maguire and Director Nick Holman told Clean Energy Pipeline.

BNRG’s UK project pipeline stands at between 80MW and 120MW of solar projects that could potentially be built over the next 18 months to two years.

“We need to take a portfolio approach where we have a bundle of projects and then go to the funders,” Holman said on the side lines of a recent conference in London.

Aside from divesting assets to yield investors, BNRG aims to raise debt to finance a share of the portfolio that it plans to retain and subsequently refinance on balance sheet.

“We have an appetite to hold onto a lot of projects,” said Maguire. “We will be holding quite a chunk ourselves on balance sheet, and we will bring in a debt provider for those projects. We may refinance those projects on balance sheet two years later.”

Unlevered construction equity and refinancing are growing alternatives to competitive, expensive and scarcely available traditional project finance, Maguire explained.

“We have effectively seen the disappearance of traditional project finance, which is how we would traditionally finance projects and have done in the past,” he said. “We’re seeing 100% construction equity and unlevered going forward, and then refinancing, because the banks can’t keep pace with the activity.

“At the same time, we’re starting to see a slight shift in that more banks are entering the market actively now and funding projects. The banks are starting to open for business again.”

The appetite for operational solar assets among funds and other yield investors that are comfortable with the technology still remains strong, according to Maguire.

“The level of interest in acquiring operational assets is huge; there’s far more funds chasing the number than there are number of good quality projects,” he said. “From that perspective, funding is not the challenge it used to be. We tend to deal with yield investors or institutional investors who have experience of the Renewables Obligation Certificate regime and are comfortable with solar.”

The rates secured for large-scale renewable energy projects under the UK ROC regime until its scheduled expiry in 2017, when it will be replaced by feed-in tariffs with contracts for difference, provide visibility for projects, according to Holman. Ground-mounted solar PV projects are guaranteed 1.4 ROCs per megawatt-hour for 2014 to 2015.

“We have moved away from a cliff edge from where we needed to have everything developed by March 31st or the project doesn’t become viable to a pipeline where we’ll have regular connections every quarter,” Holman said.

“So we can go to a funder and say we have 40MW here, of which 30MW is confirmed and 10MW is highly probable, but we may not be able to show them what we’ve got going on in the fourth quarter.”

BNRG may also finance some smaller UK projects through crowd funding after the BNRG Hoo Solar plc project became the first installation to be funded by crowd funding platform Abundance Generation.

“We’re exploring ramping that up to larger scale projects” said Maguire.

Holman added: “The end investor gets a good return. It’s distributed risk. We get attractive funding relatively quickly.  As a retail investor you are getting 6% return for very low risk.”

Investors interested in BNRG’s solar projects should contact David Maguire, co-founder and Director, at dmaguire@bnrg.ie.

David Maguire and Nick  Holman was in interview with reporter, Jessica Mills-Davies of Clear Energy Pipeline

Published on Clear Energy Pipeline website 10th of October 2013

The reporter, Jessica Mills-Davies, can be reached at jessica.millsdavies@vbresearch.com

 

BNRG exits Balkans and Eastern Europe

Ireland-based solar project developer BNRG will cease new developments in the Balkans and Eastern Europe following a series of retrospective regulatory changes, and will sell land it now views to be redundant in Bulgaria due to the country’s subsidy cuts; founder and Director David Maguire told Clean Energy Pipeline.

“The single biggest risk we face is regulatory certainty,” Maguire said on the side lines of a conference in London. “Where you have an incentive, there is always a downward pressure on that.”

BNRG is cautious of investing in countries where subsidies are overly generous because of the inevitable political pressure the incentives will come under.

“In recent years, we’ve seen retrospective changes and huge uncertainty that has been very damaging,” Maguire said. “At the same time, there had to be a change because subsidies were not totally sustainable.”

The company was a founding member of the Bulgarian PV Association and participated in a steering group instituted by the government of Bulgaria that suggested that European feed-in tariffs were too generous.

Bulgaria cut its FiT for solar energy by about 50% July 2012 in a bid to tackle rising electricity rates. The country’s interim administration, which was put in place following protests over electricity price hikes, imposed a moratorium in March 2013 on the purchase of renewable energy from power producers that lacked real-time power generation data, representing about 40% of all renewable energy in the country.

“We’re seeking to sell land in Bulgaria at agricultural value,” said Maguire. “We won’t develop it because it is simply not bankable.

“We have effectively exited Bulgaria and Greece. We were successful in these countries and placed projects with investors. Our appetite for activity in the Balkans is zero now, and we have absolutely no interest in developing in Eastern Europe, or South Eastern Europe now…because of the list of countries that implemented retrospective changes to renewables incentives. It’s a matter of time before the others do.”

BNRG was at one time active in Romania, but opposed the country’s overly high incentive for solar and retracted from the market before it made what BNRG saw as an inevitable switch in policy.

“We took a view that with the incentive (six green tradable certificates per MWh), there was an over reliance on subsidy,” said Maguire. “It was overly attractive but they left it in play because they weren’t seeing investors come in…because of the country risk in the region.

“As activity in the other Eastern European countries started to diminish, players started looking at Romania. When things started to heat up, that’s when other countries moved to reduce the incentive again. When we moved to Romania, we had an investor the whole time. We were there for about six months. We have no appetite to go into Eastern Europe again.”

The austerity measures resulting from the debt crisis, which have been the underlying factor in many of the retroactive changes seen in Europe, have simultaneously served to reduce the cost of solar power generation globally, enabling BNRG to push in to emerging territories where it is competitive with incumbent power sources.

“The drive to reduce the subsidy in Europe, and austerity with banking crises over the last few years has pushed more pressure on,” said Maguire. “We’ve seen a dramatic reduction in the cost of the technology. That reduction means the regulator has to get fair value for the taxpayer. That’s the core driver to these changes.

“By the same token, because of the reduction in the cost of the  technology, when we look at certain latitudes we see grid parity being achieved in a wider geographical region in the  tropics because of the cost of technology.”

BNRG’s contingency plan is to enter emerging markets and island territories with high diesel and electricity prices, where grid parity is achievable, as an early mover. It setup an office in Miami last year to serve the Americas and also identified West Africa and Kenya in East Africa as target markets. It is developing 55MW of solar energy projects in the Caribbean alone, which it plans to finance through US investors.

“We’ve constantly been exploring new territories where we’re not reliant on a government incentive; territories where the wholesale price of electricity exceeds what we can produce from solar generation by a reasonable margin,” said Maguire.

“We are particularly active in Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean basin. If we look at the Caribbean basin, we have electricity prices to the consumers of between $0.48 and $0.62 per kWh. Solar can be very competitive at those prices. Large-scale solar at $0.25 to $0.30 can compete extremely well in those markets and we can make a reasonable profit.”

David was in interview with reporter, Jessica Mills-Davies of Clear Energy Pipeline

Published on Clear Energy Pipeline website 2nd of October 2013

The reporter, Jessica Mills-Davies, can be reached at jessica.millsdavies@vbresearch.com

Irish Solar Company develops €17 million solar farm

Irish solar company BNRG Renewables today 23rd Sept 2013 announced it has developed a €17 million solar farm in the UK on the Isle of Wight. . This is the fourth utility-scale solar farm the Company has announced since March making it one of the most prolific solar developers in Europe this year with almost 40 megawatts of capacity developed in 2013.

Once operational, the solar farm will generate enough clean energy locally to power over 3,600 UK households for the next 30 years.

The Isle of Wight Council’s Development Control Committee voted in favour of the scheme citing the material contribution the project would make towards the island meeting its renewable generation targets. Indeed with this scheme up and running the targets will be achieved.

BNRG specialises in large, utility scale, solar energy projects. The projects are structured in a way that makes them suitable investments for institutional and pension funds. The Company was founded in 2007 by Neil Holman and David Maguire and, to date, has developed and constructed solar farms with a combined value of over €150 million. The Company is proud of its 100% track record in securing planning permissions. Maguire stated that the Company’s track record has established it as a market leader in the solar sector.

The Hill Farm solar project will be installed on 60 acres of land at land adjacent to the village of Brading on the Isle of Wight. Whilst it will be the largest solar farm on the island, the solar panels and infrastructure will occupy only 30% of the land area allowing for further measures of biodiversity like the planting of wildflowers to encourage pollinators or continued farming by means of grazing small livestock.

In order to maximise investment returns, BNRG’s development strategy in the UK has been to identify sites in those parts of the south of England with the highest solar radiation, but with the minimum visual impact on their surrounding areas. Average solar radiation on the Isle of Wight is about 25% higher that the UK average.

BNRG funded the development phase of this project and has now entered into an agreement with the UK’s largest solar energy generator, Lightsource Renewable Energy for the project to be taken through construction to operation and maintenance.

BNRG is headquartered in Dublin’s Green International Financial Services Centre (GIFSC), while most of the solar farms it develops are located abroad.

Most EU Countries Against Duties

18 out of 27 EU Member States are against the imposition of import duties on solar products

It has been reported that 18 EU Member States have voted against the imposition of import tariffs on solar products from China. It is believed that only four countries voted in favor of the Commission recommendation and the balance abstained. This is a strong message to the Commission that most member states see the value in cheaper solar modules from China. In May the Commission recommended a weighted average of 47% import duty on all solar products imported from China to the EU. This has been reduced to 11.8% until 5th August 2013 to give time for a negotiated solution between China and the EU.

During a hearing organised at the European Commission in April, David Maguire of BNRG with a delegation of over 60 company directors from the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy ‘AFASE’ made it very clear to the Commission that import duties are not in the Union interest. AFASE represents over 650 companies with a turnover in excess of 23 billion Euro and 64,000 employees from across Europe. In Ireland, the newly formed Irish Solar Energy Association ‘ISEA’ have written to both the Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton raising their concerns on the matter.

The European Commission should understand that the value added lies upstream and downstream from solar panel production. Imposing duties on imports of Chinese solar panels would be against the Union Interest and a clear contradiction with Europe’s ambition to build a green and high value-added economy. 

AFASE requests the European Commission to take into account the interests of an EU PV Value Chain that stands to lose a great many jobs and value added to the detriment of the EU economy overall. Equally, the ISEA urges Minister Bruton to oppose the imposition of import and countervailing duties on Chinese produces to Europe. Already, our largest trading partner, the UK has come out strongly against the imposition of import duties. In a rare show of consensus, German political parties across the political spectrum and various trade associations are very concerned about the possibility of a trade war with China and are urging the Commission to consider this recommendation very carefully.

In light of the overwhelming resistance from EU member States to import duties, it widely believed that a negotiated solution on this trade dispute will be found and that little or no import duties would be imposed.

Planning Permission Granted

Planning Permission Granted for one of the Largest Solar PV Parks in the UK

BNRG Renewables has obtained a 25-year planning permission from Shepway District Council’s Development Control Committee for its proposed 18MW solar array in Old Romney in Kent. The Committee voted 15 votes to one to support the scheme and a testament to BNRG’s professional and best practice approach to the application. The Planning Committee Chairman commended BNRG on a well thought out and environmentally sensitive proposal.

The utility-scale project will be constructed on approximately 120 acres of land at Sycamore Farm and will be equipped with around 73,000 solar panels, which each have a capacity of 245 watts.

During the application process a small number of letters of objections were sent, including one from Protect Kent, a local branch of national countryside body the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Tom Brinicombe, Programme Manager at BNRG said to BBC “We have worked proactively to incorporate feedback from stakeholders and local residents into our plans and have had positive feedback on the application as a result, with fewer than 10 letters of objection. We remain committed to ensuring that as well as generating a significant amount of renewable energy, this project will also be well-screened and will increase local biodiversity.” Tom, when on to say “We hope to commence construction in the near future and will remain available to local residents throughout the construction period.”

David Maguire, Director at BNRG confirmed that the solar park at Sycamore is one of the largest in the UK and is deemed a near perfect site by the BNRG team due to its above average solar resource and minimum landscape visual impact.

Full story here on BBC

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