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Extensive technical expertise enables EUR 280 million refinancing of one of Europe’s largest solar power plant

DNV’s multidisciplinary and multiservice approach simplifies the refinancing of the Mula Photovoltaic Power Plant

At the time of its opening in 2019, the Mula Photovoltaic Power Plant in the Region of Murcia, Spain (“Mula”) was the largest photovoltaic power station in Europe, with an installed capacity of 494 MWp. The plant is owned by funds managed by Northleaf Capital Partners, a global private markets investment firm with more than USD 24 billion in commitments, and Qualitas Energy, a global investment and management platform focused on renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure that manages a 1 GWp portfolio of solar photovoltaic (PV) assets.

Mula was one of several major solar projects launched by the Spanish government to support the country’s energy transition. Funding was secured in 2018, with DNV acting as Lender’s Engineer and providing technical advice to the owners and project co-developer Promosolar Juwi 17.

Understanding and communicating the risk-reward for an operational solar power plant

Determining the value available from an operational solar power plant is a different challenge than for a project that is still in the planning phase. In its four years of operation, the Mula plant had experienced some typical wear-and-tear and the effects of this were potentially compounded by issues arising when the project was built as well as natural variance in the solar irradiance the site received. All parties in the negotiations need to understand the impact that such issues could have on the plant’s output to reach a mutually beneficial arrangement – particularly in the face of rising global interest rates.

Technical due diligence and more

DNV has been providing Mula’s owners and operator with ongoing support since the original financing of the project in 2018. This intimate knowledge of the PV plant, coupled with DNV’s reputation for quality and impartiality, provided prospective lenders confidence that DNV would offer the best value as Lender’s Engineer. As Lender’s Engineer, DNV performed all the standard technical due diligence tasks required for the financing of a major infrastructure project. A key part of this was predicting future power outputs from the plant. During the 2023 refinancing, it was found that DNV’s 2018 predictions had differed from the actual output over the first four years by less than 1% (ignoring deviations due to unexpected issues). This meant prospective lenders could be confident that the technical aspects of solar generation at the site were very well understood.

DNV’s support, particularly during the 2023 refinancing process, went beyond the standard technical due diligence service and covered areas including civil and electrical engineering, financial and environmental issues. Through its multidisciplinary, multiservice approach, which drew on DNV personnel from across Spain, Portugal and the UK, DNV was able to offer all necessary technical support under one roof, simplifying the process for all parties in the refinancing negotiations.

Impact

  • Multidisciplinary, multiservice technical support simplified refinancing process for owners and lenders
  • Financing process completed in 6 months
  • DNV’s technical support has improved the plant’s design
Northleaf

DNV’s global PV experience allowed us to enter this project with confidence – we knew we could trust their judgement and ability to find solutions. And their knowledge goes further than just the PV technology: Whatever the challenge posed, DNV worked pro-actively with stakeholders to find solutions.

  • Roderick Gadsby ,
  • Managing Director ,
  • Northleaf Capital Partners
Qualitas Energy

Refinancing the Mula Photovoltaic Power Plant is a major milestone for us. DNV’s support – which covered so many topics – was key to delivering that in a desirable timeframe. They never missed a single deadline.

  • José María Arzac ,
  • Investment Principal ,
  • Qualitas Energy

Related information

 

Qualitas Energy announces closing of nearly EUR 280 million refinancing for the Mula solar plant, one of the largest in Europe