Octopus expands solar refinancing portfolio

Octopus Investments, Europe’s largest commercial solar investor, has added a further 100MW of capacity to its refinanced portfolio, taking the total to 622MW.

The refinancing package was extended by £80 million to £564m.

A syndicate of nine banks have backed the refinancing.

> Read Octopus's announcement

Offshore energy robot project launched

The Edinburgh Centre for Robotics – a consortium that brings together Heriot Watt University, the University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London, the University of Oxford and the University of Liverpool – is to undertake a £36 million project to develop robots and artificial intelligence technology for the offshore energy industry.

The “Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets” (ORCA) programme will develop methods for carrying out inspection, repair, maintenance and certification remotely.

The Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council is contributing £14.3m to the project, with 31 industrial partners putting in £18m and the five universities stumping up the rest of the cash.

> View Heriot Watt's announcement

Barclays issues green bond

Banking giant Barclays has issued a €500 million green bond, which was certified by the Climate Bonds Initiative.

The money raised by the bond will be used to refinance residential mortgages on English and Welsh properties that sit in the top 15% of low carbon intensity properties, according to energy performance certificate data.

Sean Kidney, Founder and Chief Executive of the Climate Bonds Initiative, said: “This new Barclays green bond should trigger more global banks and FTSE companies to act and initiate their own green bond programs into 2018.”

> See Barclays' statement

Funding for smart energy innovation announced

Claire Perry, the Climate Change and Industry Minister, has unveiled £16 million of funding for smart energy systems development.

The cash will be distributed through two competitions to create technologies that will “reduce demand on the electricity grid at peak periods” and “increase demand at times when low-carbon generation is at its peak, saving money and cutting emissions”.

The competitions will have a specific focus on schools and small hospitality businesses.

> View the announcement

Aviva in renewables investment

Investment manager Downing has sold a package of 221 solar arrays to Aviva Investors for £5 million.

The panels are mounted on homes and schools in southern England and Wales.

David Freeder, Investment Director at Downing, said: “Downing was one of the early investors into the feed-in tariff solar sector and has backed a variety of UK-based development partners.”

> Read Downing's statement