ScottishPower charges up on solar energy with deals to acquire 17 projects

Energy giant ScottishPower has become a major solar developer after signing deals to acquire a string of projects across the UK.

Two contracts have been concluded separately with Elgin Energy, which owns a dozen projects, and Lightsource BP, which controls five projects. Both companies have been described as “experienced developers with a long track record in renewable energy”.

The 17 photovoltaic projects acquired are at an advanced stage of development, with a combined capacity of 800 megawatts (MW).

The projects, across Scotland, England and Wales, are in advanced stages of development and will be operational by 2025 with a total investment of approximately £500 million. This portfolio of solar sites will add enough clean energy to power in excess of 220,000 homes.

ScottishPower - part of the Iberdrola Group - has signed two deals to acquire 17 photovoltaic projects at an advanced stage of development. Picture shows part of ScottishPower's Carland Cross hybrid energy park in Cornwall. Picture: @kieroninfocus

Glasgow-headquartered ScottishPower, which is part of Spain’s Iberdrola Group, said it was moving to the forefront of the UK’s solar industry, with a market share rising from 2 per cent to 9 per cent.

The new deals confirm the company’s commitment to growing the renewables market across the UK. They will also contribute towards reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland in 2045 and in the UK by 2050, the group added.

Lindsay McQuade, chief executive of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “Moving into 2022, we are continuing to push forward our plans at ScottishPower to support the transition to net zero. This boost to our solar generation pipeline complements our existing growth plans for wind and storage.

“With plans to invest close to £4 billion by 2025, doubling the volume of renewable electricity we produce, we are taking action every day to deliver on our commitment to deploy more renewables - at scale and at speed - to electrify how we live, work and travel.

“This addition to our portfolio will help accelerate that journey and play an important role in tackling the climate emergency.”

As of September 2021, Iberdrola had almost three gigawatts (GW) of installed photovoltaic capacity worldwide, an increase of 89 per cent compared to 2019.

Of this capacity, 2,028MW are in Spain, 642MW in Mexico, 191MW in the US, 4MW in the UK and 31MW in other countries. It also has 31GW of solar projects under development in Spain, the US, Mexico, the UK, Portugal and Italy.

Iberdrola, chaired by Ignacio Galan, has closed 30 corporate transactions since the beginning of 2020, including 17 acquisitions in new markets such as Sweden, Ireland, Poland, Japan and Australia.

ScottishPower Renewables said it was at the forefront of the development of the renewables industry. Its growth plans include expansion of its existing onshore wind portfolio, investment in new large-scale solar deployment and innovative grid storage systems including batteries.

The renewables business now has more than 40 operational wind farm sites producing in excess of 2,500MW.

In November, rival SSE, the Perth-headquartered energy giant, outlined plans to invest a bumper £12.5 billion over the next five years as it looks to accelerate its net zero plans. The firm said the move makes it the biggest constructor of offshore wind in the world.

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