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Hedge fund bets £100m on British solar power

Elliott Capital Advisors, the UK arm of the American hedge fund, has put money into half a dozen unnamed projects capable of generating about 85MW of solar energy – making it one of the largest privately held solar power operators in the country.

It has hedged its bets by taking out short positions in five other renewable energy funds listed on the London stock market. It made its biggest investment in a firm last week, spending an estimated £9m to short 2.21% of The Renewables Infrastructure Group (TRIG).

The hedges amount to a £17m position against the publicly traded renewable firms. Elliott Capital Advisors is thought to have spent up to four times as much so far in building its own solar projects.

It is shorting Bluefield Solar Income Fund, which has 12 projects in England and Wales; John Laing Environmental Assets, which invests in seven renewable projects; Nextenergy Solar Fund, with three projects underway; and Foresight Solar Fund, which owns Wymeswold – until recently, the country’s largest solar farm.

Almost £8bn was invested in renewable energy in 2013, according to figures cited by the Department for Energy & Climate Change. The government has committed to meeting 15% of the UK’s energy needs from green sources by 2020 and has introduced incentives such as renewable obligation certificates, a subsidy that generators sell to suppliers. However, this particular subsidy could draw to a close this year.

Elliott Capital Advisors is best known in Britain for taking stakes in companies in order to push through sweeping changes. The fund lost a campaign to install its own directors at National Express, and bought Game Group in 2012.

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