In a recent interview with Infralogic, Alexander Goodall (CEO & Founder) announced CEC's plans to raise more than £100m to fund construction of at least 750MWp of capacity for bespoke solar projects. Interview below.
Clean Energy Capital (CEC), a start-up seeking to roll out bespoke solar projects for large power consumers in the UK, is looking to raise more than GBP 100m to fund construction of at least 750 MWp of capacity.
CEC, founded in 2021 by renewables entrepreneur Alexander Goodall, is being advised on the fundraising plans by Cameron Barney, which has already advised it on two fundraises to finance early-stage development of the projects, Goodall said in an interview with Infralogic.
CEC announced the second fundraise, which it said will enable it to develop a further 500 MWp of projects on top of the 250MWp it secured in its previous fundraise, last month. Financial details were not disclosed.
CEC, which has grown from five to 20 employees in the past 18 months, is looking to raise the construction finance from institutional investors towards the end of this year.
CEC’s plan is to develop solar projects serving large power users (LPUs) such as data centres, ports and car factories, which source the electricity directly from the projects rather than the main electricity grid.
It will enable them to source around a quarter of their power from CEC projects, giving them further energy security, Goodall said, adding that CEC will offer cheaper power than that available from the grid due to the lower cost of providing solar power.
“Ultimately, power sourced from the grid, no matter the method, is never ‘actually’ green, even if the users have secured renewable energy guarantees of origin (REGOs),” said Goodall, noting that the grid is mainly powered by gas and nuclear sources.
REGOs are certificates electricity suppliers use to show their customers how much of the power they are selling them is from renewable sources.
CEC uses technology that enables it to identify land that is close to LPUs and can be used to house solar projects. The land it seeks to lease is often lower quality agricultural land or land on which solar panels can be combined with livestock grazing, wildflower meadows, beekeeping and other activities.
Once it has identified the sites, CEC contacts landowners and nearby LPUs to secure the sites and off-takers for the solar power. Among the sites it has secured is one in Sunderland in the vicinity of LPUs such as the Nissan car factory and electric vehicle battery maker Envision AESC and one in Liverpool in the vicinity of Liverpool airport and carmakers Ford and Jaguar Land Rover.
Although bespoke renewable projects are nothing new, CEC’s offering is differentiated by the fact that it proactively decides to secure land and develop projects itself rather than this being done by the LPUs, said Goodall.
It also benefits the community because it offers the LPUs the opportunity to switch to renewable power from energy sources such gas turbines and diesel generators that pollute the surrounding air, he said.
CEC is Goodall’s third venture. In 2009, he founded a rooftop solar financing specialist, Svolts Capital, which raised GBP 75m in debt and equity from Macquarie Bank, renewables investor Downing and others. Svotls was later acquired by US solar group SunEdison to spearhead its move into the UK and Europe.
He later set up a renewable energy consultancy that was acquired by Norwegian state renewable energy group Statkraft as a means to enter the UK solar market.
CEC is “technology agnostic” but focusing on solar just now given the speed at which it can be become operational, in contrast to onshore wind which is “nearly impossible to obtain planning for” says Goodall. It is targeting its first projects to be operational in around 18 to 24 months.