UK’s largest solar investor sets up shop in Victoria

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Claiming not only to be the UK’s largest solar investor but Europe’s largest “commercial solar player” fund manager Octopus is not short of ambition. It is now bringing some of its renewables team to Australia, where it plans to “expand its energy business beyond Europe.”

Octopus opened offices in Melbourne on Monday, in an event attended by Victorian Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio.

The Octopus group of companies manage some £8 billion ($14.33 billion) of funds under management. It reports having attracted retail and institutional funds to renewables since 2010. It plans to invest its own funds and attract local investment to large scale renewables in Australia.

“Australia has fantastic solar and wind resources and the potential to be at the leading edge of renewables,” said Matt Setchell, Head of Octopus’ Energy Investments team. “The team now on the ground in Australia has been integral in growing our business into Europe’s largest solar investment management business over the last five years.”

In Europe, Octopus has built a £2.6 billion ($4.66 billion) portfolio of Renewable Energy assets, for over 2 GW of capacity. Its solar projects in the UK generate 40% of the UK’s solar electricity.

Octopus reports that it has built 154 solar farms in the UK, and have another 66 projects either completed, or in the works in France.

Alongside investing in large scale renewables, in the UK Octopus is also an electricity retailer, through Octopus Energy. It describes itself as a ‘smart technology’ investor and appears to participate also in the UK’s fully deregulated grid services marketplace.

Lily D’Ambrosio, welcomed Octopus’ move into the Victoria. “The Victorian Government is keen to work with the developers and financiers of new energy technology solutions in wind, solar, energy storage and bio energy, from across the globe, to attract investment to the State.”