Foresight Solar is continuing to explore the possibility of retrofitting battery storage plant on its solar portfolio as it bids to capitalise on its existing grid connections.
Last week the investor confirmed that it had clinched the purchase of a 134MW UK solar portfolio that it expects to finalise in July.
Speaking to Solar Power Portal after the announcement Ricardo Piñeiro, partner at Foresight Group, said that as attractive solar acquisitions became harder to come by in the secondary market, the fund was now exploring battery storage retrofits.
Piñeiro pointed towards the firm’s existing investments in battery storage – Foresight acquired two EFR-backed utility-scale storage projects last year – as having provided it with familiarity with the technology.
“What we’re seeing at the moment is definitely an analysis within the industry of trying to identify other ways of benefiting from the grid connections we have across these sites,” he said.
And Foresight is keeping its options open as to how it may realise that value-add.
“There’s definitely value there to be explored, either through a direct investment in the batteries itself, or through agreements where the funds would share revenue profits with third party investors with the batteries,” he said, adding that the number of assets Foresight has under management would help it realise those ambitions.
The retrofit utility-scale solar-plus-storage market has yet to truly take off in the UK – Anesco earlier this month claimed to still be the only developer to have taken such a retrofit through to completion – but most investors have made known their interest in the model.
But Piñeiro does not share some of his peers’ opinions on the validity of pure subsidy-free solar developments in the UK, arguing that other European markets – particularly Iberia and Italy – remain “a bit more advanced” in terms of PPA structures and returns.
Foresight is, however, keeping the UK market under review.