Sunday 26 May 2019

Irish-founded WElink Group sells 46mw solar plant

Barry O'Neill, ceo of the WElink Group
Barry O'Neill, ceo of the WElink Group

John Reynolds

IRISH renewable energy and modular home developer WElink Group has sold a 46mw solar power plant in Portugal to Allianz Capital Partners, part of the Munich-based Allianz insurance group.

Construction of the Ourika plant, which is one of the largest of its kind in Europe that operates without subsidies, began last summer with a launch event in July. It was built by WElink and its partner, China Triumph International Engineering Company (CTIEC).

Instead of the subsidies the plant relies on a 20-year fixed price corporate power purchase agreement. Located near Ourique in southern Portugal, Ourika covers 100 hectares, comprises 142,000 solar panels and generates enough energy to power about 23,000 homes.

Commenting on the deal, the terms of which were not disclosed, Marc Groves-Raines, head of renewables at Allianz Capital Partners, said: "We are delighted to partner with the experienced developer WElink on this project, which is our first investment in a solar project in Portugal.

"Ourika is a very valuable addition to our climate-friendly portfolio, which now exceeds 90 solar farms and wind parks. We hope to invest in more subsidy free solar projects in Europe."

WElink's CEO is Dubliner Barry O'Neill a former DCC executive who founded the company with Dublin engineer Breandan MacAmhlaoibh. "We are very pleased to close this transaction. It cements our transition to becoming a leading international power producer," said O'Neill. "Ourika is the first project in an ambitious investment programme we have for Southern Europe. It will be followed by a second project in Portugal in 2019."

Along with its founders, investors in WElink include a mix of family offices, small funds and private investors here, in Britain and the US. Over 50pc of electricity in Portugal is generated using renewable energy.

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