The European Investment Bank (EIB), Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank Milan branch (Crédit Agricole CIB), Natixis Corporate and Investment Banking (Natixis CIB) and Reden have closed a project finance operation for €264 million to finance one of the largest greenfield photovoltaic portfolios in Italy. 

The financing will support the construction and operation of up to 26 photovoltaic power plants with a total installed capacity of up to 255 MW across Italy. Eleven of those will be built in the country’s south, eight in the north, and seven in central Italy.

All the power plants will be operational by the first quarter of 2025. They will produce approximately 470 GWh a year of renewable electricity, enough to meet the demand of more than 190 000 Italian households. The operation will contribute to meeting the EIB’s ambitious RepowerEU objectives and Italy’s renewable energy production goals. The photovoltaic portfolio is also expected to prevent approximately 3.3 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over its lifetime.

Most of the plants will benefit from the incentive tariff under Italy’s FER 1 Decree, as they will be built on industrial land and thus generate contracted revenues for 20 years. For the remainder, which will be built on agricultural land, the borrower – Reden Development Italy – is expected to sign long-term power purchase agreements or sell the electricity to the market.

This financing is classified as a green loan according to the Loan Market Association Green Loan Principles. It is an important benchmark for the industry, as it is one of Italy’s largest greenfield photovoltaic portfolios that combines incentive tariffs, long-term power purchase agreements and market revenue.

“As the EU climate bank, we are pleased to be co-financing the construction of one of the largest greenfield photovoltaic portfolios in Italy, which will generate enough renewable energy to meet the demand of more than 190 000 Italian families,” commented EIB Vice-President Gelsomina Vigliotti. “This operation once again demonstrates the EIB’s strong commitment to supporting the REPowerEU plan and to making Europe the first carbon-neutral continent in the world.”

Thierry Carcel, chief executive officer of Reden Solar, said: “Following our strategic decision to enter the Italian market in 2021, this first financing for Reden in Italy confirms our strong ambition to develop our presence in the country and to contribute actively to Italy’s green energy transition. With the support of the group, our team, based in Rome and led by Luca Crisi, will manage the construction and operation of this portfolio. They are also already working on additional advanced projects to reach more than 1 GW of installed capacity in Italy by 2027.”

Jamie Mabilat, country head of Crédit Agricole CIB in Italy, said: “As a key relationship bank of Reden, we are pleased to be supporting the company’s expansion into the Italian market and its ambitious growth plans. This transaction demonstrates Crédit Agricole CIB’s strong commitment to the energy transition and our leading position in the green loan market. We would also like to thank Reden’s management team for their confidence in mandating Crédit Agricole CIB to lead this very important transaction.”

Guido Pescione, country head of the Natixis CIB Milan branch, said: “We are proud to have been mandated as sole underwriter in Reden’s first greenfield initiative in Italy. This remarkable transaction further demonstrates Natixis’ efforts to support the development of renewable energy in the green transition and its environmental and sustainability values.”

All the plants will be wholly owned by the borrower, Reden Development Italy Srl, part of the Reden Solar Group. Mandel Consortium recently acquired the group, which is majority-owned by the leading global investment fund Macquarie. Reden’s Italian subsidiary will also carry out construction, operation, and maintenance activities.

The main advisors of the transaction are Legance – Avvocati Associati (legal), EOS Consulting Spa (technical), Willis Towers Watson Ltd (insurance) and PWC Business Services Srl (model auditor).

Image source: Courtesy of EIB; image credit: ©Zbynek Burival/ Unsplash

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