Foresight launches its third Solar EIS Fund

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Foresight launches Foresight Solar EIS Fund 3, having recently closed Foresight Solar EIS Fund 2 at £30 million.

Key Highlights
• Foresight Solar EIS Fund 3 raising £20 million to target capital growth from UK Solar Power Plants

• Foresight Solar EIS Fund 2 closed at £30 million having been the top ranked EIS by Tax Efficient Review

Foresight Group (Foresight), the leading independent alternative asset manager with a strategic focus on private equity, infrastructure and environmental, announces the launch of a £20 million fundraising for Foresight Solar EIS Fund 3.

This new Solar EIS will capitalise on Foresight’s extensive experience in renewable energy, and follows the successful fundraising for Foresight Solar EIS Fund 2 which recently closed at £30 million having been the fastest EIS fundraising of the 2012/13 tax year season.

Foresight Solar EIS Fund 3, like its predecessor, will invest in UK Solar Power Plants where investors can benefit from the enhanced revenue streams possible under the Government’s Renewable Obligation (RO) scheme. In addition to income derived from selling the generated electricity, generation plants accredited under the RO scheme receive 20 years of income from the sale of Renewable Obligation Certificates, which substantially increases the Solar Power Plants’ returns.

Foresight has been one of the pioneers in the European Solar market, having built a £310 million portfolio of solar assets in the UK, Italy and Spain with a generating capacity of 86MW. Foresight recently issued a £60 million Solar Bond on the London Stock Exchange, the largest UK Solar Bond to date, in order to refinance its 16MW portfolio of four UK Solar Power Plants in Kent, Somerset and Wiltshire. This refinancing had the immediate impact of enhancing the target return for investors in Foresight Solar VCT, and Foresight Solar EIS by [c15-20%]. Foresight Solar VCT and Foresight Solar EIS continue to own 100% of the equity in the four plants.

Since 2010, Foresight has now raised in excess of £100 million from private investors for its Solar VCT, and two Solar EIS schemes, and alongside Foresight Solar EIS Fund 3, it continues to raise funds for Foresight Solar VCT – C Shares, which has particular appeal to investors who are attracted by the tax free dividend income available from VCTs.

Foresight sources its opportunities through its established network of contacts in the UK Solar sector, and has received approaches from solar entrepreneurs to finance a pipeline of opportunities worth more than £600 million.

Ben Thompson, Marketing Director at Foresight commented: "Appetite for our Solar EIS and Solar VCT offerings continues to be strong due in part to the fact that Solar is now a priority renewable technology in DECC’s published renewables roadmap as well as the healthy target returns from a maturing sector which offers index-linked revenue streams. We expect demand for Foresight Solar EIS Fund 3 and for Foresight Solar VCT – C Shares to fill up steadily as the attractions of Solar Investing become apparent. Our experience in infrastructure investing has been a telling advantage, with our EIS and VCT offerings ranked highest among new offerings by Tax Efficient Review this season”

For further information, please contact:
Ben Thompson: / +44 (0)20 3667 8155

Notes to editors:
About Foresight Group Foresight Group has been managing investment funds on behalf of institutions and retail clients for nearly 30 years. With a background in Private Equity and Venture Capital, Foresight has diversified activities and today manages institutional funds principally in European Infrastructure (Solar and PPP), Environmental and UK small cap Private Equity, including six years of specific Infrastructure experience.

Foresight has in excess of £650 million assets under management. Foresight’s solar funds have invested in more than £310 million of operating PV assets in the UK, Italy and Spain.

In the solar sector, Foresight’s European Solar JV platform, ForVEI, includes participation by substantial global infrastructure investors such as France’s CDC Infrastructure and Italy’s Generali Group. Foresight recently announced a joint venture with Greentech Energy Systems to invest in solar PV infrastructure in the United States.

Foresight has successfully closed fundraisings for Foresight Solar VCT at £38 million, Foresight Solar EIS at £27.5 million in 2011 and Foresight Solar EIS Fund 2 at £30 million in 2013 and in 2012, fully subscribed at £33 million, its unique Infrastructure VCT Shares offering which is currently investing predominantly in UK based secondary PFI projects.

Foresight manages the most successful VCT ever*, Foresight VCT which has returned approximately £1.80 in dividends to its investors since launch in 1997. *source: Martin Churchill Tax Efficient Review.

About Solar Power – Key Facts
• A mature sector
o 101GW installed globally
o 30GW installed globally during 2012 – an increase in global capacity of over 40% in 12 months.
• UK Solar installations now exceeding 2GW
o up from 1.4GW in July 2012
o up from 250MW July 2011
o 1.1GW solar installed in UK during 2012
o Demand for PV Solar in Q1 2013 forecast to exceed 0.5GW – equivalent to a 25% capacity increase in three months and double the rate of installation in 2012 (solarpowerportal)
• Solar PV now included in DECC’s priority renewable technologies in the Renewables Roadmap
• DECC forecasting between 7GW and 20GW installed in UK by 2020
• Solar has highest degree of UK public support for energy technology at 82% - compared to 66% for onshore wind (Source DECC)
• Ministerial Quotes from speech delivered by Greg Barker, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change at the Launch of the National Solar Centre January 2013
"...Now, as we prepare to pass the 2GW threshold, we can rightly say that solar is coming of age. It is reliable, accessible, increasingly affordable and totally scalable...”

"...the Renewables Roadmap Update set out our ambition. We have the ability – and more importantly, the ambition – to see a 10 fold increase in solar power by 2020....”.