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Osborne Clarke advises Foresight Group on its acquisition of UK's largest solar park


Written on 3 February 2017

International legal practice Osborne Clarke has advised leading independent infrastructure and private equity investment manager Foresight on its acquisition of the largest solar park in the UK. Called Shotwick and based in North Wales, the 220-acre site operates at a 72MW peak capacity and a 50MW AC export capacity.

Foresight acquired Shotwick through its Foresight Solar Fund Limited (“FSFL”). Its acquisition of the solar park is part of a deal that will see Foresight sell the green power generated at Shotwick to energy intensive business UPM and its Shotton Paper Mill via a private wire. This direct power supply contract allows UPM’s mill to run on up to 100% green energy during the day, potentially saving 202,500 tonnes of CO2 in one year.

The developers, WElink, British Solar Renewables and Compton Group, worked together with Foresight and UPM, the largest producer of 100% recycled newsprint in the UK, to implement this ground-breaking private wire arrangement, which also has the flexibility to export to the grid. China Triumph International Engineering Co., Ltd. acted as the EPC contractor on the project.

The Osborne Clarke team that advised Foresight on the transaction was led by Corporate Partner Matthew Lewis and Energy & Utilities Partner Alan John. They were assisted by Associate Director Chris Yeo and Associate Ashley Morris (Corporate), Senior Associate Deborah Harvey (Projects), Partner Carl Thompson and Senior Associate Duncan Parker (Construction) and Senior Associates Charlotte Walker (Property) and John Webster (Planning).

Partner Matthew Lewis commented:

“This is a landmark transaction, not just for Foresight but for renewables generation in the industrial sector in the UK more generally. It’s a sign that the market is starting to shift towards corporate collaboration in order to effectively manage long term business costs while also, and crucially, lowering carbon emissions.

“Foresight is a pioneering company in this respect and it’s been a pleasure to work on such an innovative and complex transaction with them.”

Ricardo Pineiro, Partner and Head of UK Solar, Foresight, added:

“We are delighted to reach financial close on the acquisition of Shotwick Solar Park, a project with a unique deal structure, delivering green electricity to Shotton Paper Mill. As the UK’s largest solar site the project sets an exciting new precedent in scale and flexibility for cost-efficient private wire arrangements and integration of Renewable generation in the UK industrial sector”

Osborne Clarke has an established and well-respected position as one of the leading law firms advising on renewable energy projects and transactions. For over 20 years, it has helped clients to seize new opportunities and meet the challenges of making energy generation clean, affordable and secure. The combination of the team’s experience and understanding of the energy sector means they are regularly called upon to support businesses on all aspects of their commercial, regulatory, corporate, finance and construction legal needs.