Investor Login

Zouk invests in a 2MW solar project in Italy

zouk ventures ltd (“zouk”), manager of the €52m solar project investment vehicle zouk Solar Opportunities Ltd (“zSOL”), and Next Energy Capital (“NEC”), a European merchant bank specialised in the renewable energy sector, today announce their joint investment in a 2MW development-stage photovoltaic (“PV”) solar project in Puglia, Italy. The project, NextPower 1, represents the first in a pipeline of projects which zSOL and NEC will develop in partnership.

The NextPower 1 solar power plants will be built and operated by Enerqos, one of the leading PV contractors in Italy. The project is situated on two sites, each of 1MW. One will utilise a dual-axis tracker technology developed by Enerqos. The second site will be built on a traditional ground mounted, fixed axis system. Both sites benefit from close proximity to local electricity grid connections. Over their lifetime, the two power plants will produce over 67 million kWh, representing a saving of approximately 36,000 tons of CO2. The solar plants are expected to become operational in late 2009, from when they will start to receive the premium feed-in-tariff for the electricity produced. It is intended that the plants will be managed by WiseEnergy, a solar asset management company controlled by NEC. NEC made their investment through NextPower, a platform designed to invest in solar parks. zouk has invested with an initial 49% stake with the right to raise its participation to 65%. The overall investment totals €14.5m.

Project financing with a line of credit for €12.5m is being provided by the Italian bank Centrobanca, an institution with which zouk and NEC have strong relations. “Centrobanca offered us financing with very competitive terms. In these credit-constrained markets this is testament to the quality of the project and the management teams behind it”, said Stefano Sommadossi, Co-CEO of NEC.

“Long-standing local relationships with financing institutions, state authorities and developers position NEC as a strong Italian partner for zSOL”, said Colin Campbell, managing partner of zSOL at zouk. “We see NEC as a valuable partner in developing our presence in Italy, a strategic market for us. NEC and zouk are now well positioned to build a significant pipeline of projects together over the next 2 years. The realisation of this pipeline will be an important step towards meeting the challenging targets we have set for development in Italy”.

Stefano Sommadossi said of the relationship, “NextEnergy Capital brings the development work it has made over the past years in the Italian solar sector, contributing outstanding projects, arranging debt financing and turn-key contracts for construction and maintenance, as for this first project. The zouk team complements ours very effectively. We are excited to be working in partnership with an equity investor of such standing to build out what we believe to be one of Italy’s leading solar PV pipelines”.
 
About zouk ventures

Founded in 1999, zouk ventures is a London based investment manager focusing on expansion stage capital in cleantech markets as well as renewable and environmental infrastructure opportunities. zouk currently manages two technology funds and invests in solar infrastructure projects through zouk Solar Opportunities Ltd. zouk has been a leading investor in the carbon market for ten years and is a founding member of the Cleantech Venture Network in Europe. For more information please visit www.zouk.com
 
About Next Energy Capital

Next Energy Capital is a London -based merchant bank focused on the renewable energy sector in Europe. In the field of private equity, NextEnergy Capital promotes, co-finances and manages funds whose objectives are to identify, acquire, realise and manage investment platforms in the renewable energy sector, in particular power plants in Europe, with the brand name NextPower. In the field of Financial Advisory, NextEnergy Capital undertakes mandates involving M&A and capital market transactions for clients wishing to expand their presence in the renewable energy market. For more information please visit www.nextenergycapital.com
 
For futher information please contact:

Colin Campbell
ccampbell@zouk.com
+44 (0)20 7947 3400