Solar Subsidy Farming

By Paul Homewood

h/t Tomo

There’s an outfit called Next Energy Solar Fund, who are after your money to invest in solar projects:

Next Energy don’t directly own the solar farms, it is merely the holding company for a number of shell companies who do own them. This is advantageous to them, as they can simply let any one of the shell companies go bankrupt if it runs into trouble, without the holding company taking much of a hit.

And because most of the money invested belongs to investors in the fund, Next Energy have little to lose anyway. Instead they merely rake off the profits and service charges.

Curiously the assets stated above seem to exceed the number of solar farms listed on their website, as Tomo discovered, but there may be a good reason for this.

But a look at their Annual Accounts makes interesting reading.

Most of their capacity, 86%, is subsidised via ROCs and FITs, (Renewable Obligations and Feed in Tariffs):

Weighting the ROCs according to this chart gives an average of 1.4 ROC/MWh. As ROCs were worth £50.05 last year, this amounts to a subsidy of £70.26/MWh. Adding in FITs at a conservative value of £50/MWh, the total subsidy farmed by these assets amounted to around £43 million last year, on top of the revenue from electricity sales.

According to their Accounts, the income from the solar assets was only £38.9 million, meaning that they would have made a loss without the subsidy.

They make a play about new investment in “subsidy free” solar, but the amount is tiny, and can still earn subsidies through the sale of REGOs.

Nationally solar capacity in the y/e March 2021 has only increased by 1.2%, from 13305 to 13477 MW, suggesting that there is still little investor interest.


September 9, 2021