German private equity firm Allianz Capital Partners on behalf of Allianz insurance companies announced on October 25 that it has closed the acquisition of the 46 megawatt (MW) Ourika project in Portugal. The solar farm is fully operational and has been developed by the Irish renewable energy company WElink Group.
The plant located in Southern Portugal, around 170km south-east of Lisbon is fully operational and was officially inaugurated on 26th July 2018 at a ceremony that included delegates from the European Commission and the Portuguese Government.
Ourika is the largest solar PV plant in Europe connected and operating without public subsidies. It is a pioneering project as the first unsubsidised project in Portugal connected directly to the to the National Transmission Grid (RNT), operated by the Redes Energéticas Nacionais (REN), according to the new regulation for linking generators to European Union networks.
Developed by WElink Energy and its longstanding strategic partner China Triumph International Engineering Company (CTIEC), the Ourika plant will generate enough clean energy to power 23,000 homes. CTIEC acted as EPC Contractor including provision of construction finance, and were supported by Spanish Solaer Group on the construction works.
Ourika is a pioneering project at Iberian level and will be one of the first large solar power plants in operation that has no guaranteed tariff supported by taxpayers, but rather relies on a corporate PPA. The project is backed by a 20 year PPA agreement.
Barry O’Neill, CEO of WElink Group, said:
“This acquisition agreement represents an important strategic milestone for WElink Energy. We are extremely pleased to close this transaction with Allianz Capital Partners. It cements our transition to becoming a leading international power producer. Ourika is the first project in an ambitious investment programme for WElink and working together with our partner China Triumph International Engineering Company in core markets in Southern Europe. Ourika will be followed by the Solara4 project in Portugal due for completion in Q3 2019”.
With the 8th solar farm investment, Allianz investments in the renewable energy sector exceed 90 renewables projects, with a total of 83 wind parks and 8 solar farms located in Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Sweden and the United States.
The wind and solar parks of Allianz generate enough renewable energy to supply over a million households, which is comparable to a city the size of central Paris.
Marc Groves-Raines, Head of Renewables at Allianz Capital Partners said:
“We are delighted to partner with the experienced developer WElink on this project, which is our first investment in a solar project in Portugal. Ourika is a very valuable ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) -conform addition to our climate-friendly portfolio, which now exceeds 90 solar farms and wind parks. This investment proves the importance of renewable energies for the investment portfolio of Allianz being one of the leading European investors in this sector. We hope to invest in more subsidy free solar projects across many European markets in the future and look forward to further projects with WElink or other experienced counterparties.”
Source: Press Release by Allianz and WElink Group. Photo Credit: © WElink Group.