Union Investment is continuing to expand the portfolio of its institutional infrastructure fund (UniInstitutional Infrastruktur SICAV-SIF), which focuses on renewable energy sources in Europe.
Following the five investments in onshore wind farms made since the fund was launched in May 2012, the first acquisition of a solar park in France has now been agreed.
The fund has thus built up a broadly diversified portfolio comprising six major energy parks in Germany, the UK, Ireland and France, representing an investment commitment of some €200 million.
The portfolio is also diversified across different feed-in systems and plant manufacturers. The newly acquired solar park entered service in March 2014 on a 20-hectare site comprising a total of 37,000 monocrystalline modules with an installed rated output of 11.1 MWp.
The facility is located in Lüe in Landes department, 100 kilometres south of Bordeaux, one of the sunniest regions in France with global solar radiation of around 1,500 kWh/m². The vendor is Solaire Direct SA, one of the biggest developers of photovoltaic parks in France.
Like in Germany, electricity from renewable energy is subsidised by means of a statutory feed-in tariff in France. The plant has a guaranteed tariff for a period of 20 years from the start of operations. The feed-in rate for the Beconnais solar park is 11.08 cents/kilowatt hour for the 2014 calendar year.
Dr. Christoph Schumacher, a member of the management team at Union Investment Institutional Property GmbH, Hamburg, said:
"Beconnais provides an excellent toehold in the French photovoltaic market. We intend to utilise the favourable conditions in France to make further investments."
In August 2013, Union Investment made a second closing of its infrastructure fund launched last year, collecting additional €100 million in equity for total investment capacity of €350 million. The focus will be on wind farms (onshore projects), making up around 70% of total assets. An investment of up to 30% in photovoltaic systems is also planned.
Union Investment is the investment arm of the DZ Bank Group and part of the cooperative financial services network. It is headquartered in Frankfurt.