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Solar Subsidy Farming

September 9, 2021

By Paul Homewood


h/t Tomo


There’s an outfit called Next Energy Solar Fund, who are after your money to invest in solar projects:




Next Energy don’t directly own the solar farms, it is merely the holding company for a number of shell companies who do own them. This is advantageous to them, as they can simply let any one of the shell companies go bankrupt if it runs into trouble, without the holding company taking much of a hit.

And because most of the money invested belongs to investors in the fund, Next Energy have little to lose anyway. Instead they merely rake off the profits and service charges.

Curiously the assets stated above seem to exceed the number of solar farms listed on their website, as Tomo discovered, but there may be a good reason for this.

But a look at their Annual Accounts makes interesting reading.

Most of their capacity, 86%, is subsidised via ROCs and FITs, (Renewable Obligations and Feed in Tariffs):




Weighting the ROCs according to this chart gives an average of 1.4 ROC/MWh. As ROCs were worth £50.05 last year, this amounts to a subsidy of £70.26/MWh. Adding in FITs at a conservative value of £50/MWh, the total subsidy farmed by these assets amounted to around £43 million last year, on top of the revenue from electricity sales.

According to their Accounts, the income from the solar assets was only £38.9 million, meaning that they would have made a loss without the subsidy.


They make a play about new investment in “subsidy free” solar, but the amount is tiny, and can still earn subsidies through the sale of REGOs.

Nationally solar capacity in the y/e March 2021 has only increased by 1.2%, from 13305 to 13477 MW, suggesting that there is still little investor interest.

  1. Joe Public permalink
    September 9, 2021 6:50 pm

    893MW capacity generating 738GWh gives a capacity factor of just 9.43%.

    Below even Britain’s average solar CF of 10.8%, and as the late Prof David MacKay pointed out, we’re “one of the darkest countries in the world”

    • Robert Christopher permalink
      September 9, 2021 7:30 pm

      The Guardian article is worth reading: there are so many sound bites that ring true. And I do like this one:

      The [British public] do seem to care quite a lot about the cost [of energy] …

      • Adam Gallon permalink
        September 10, 2021 6:40 am

        Incredible eh?
        We care about the size of our energy bills?

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        September 10, 2021 8:29 am

        Amazing that just a few years ago gas company executives were being roasted by the media because they had to increase prices to follow oil prices. Then it was terrible for the poor to have higher energy costs. Now its for their own good…

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      September 10, 2021 8:27 am

      Well somebody has to be below average!

  2. Broadlands permalink
    September 9, 2021 7:49 pm

    I seem to recall that solar and wind energy does not move gasoline powered vehicles very far. Even EVs need to power up their batteries when the Sun doesn’t shine and the wind stops blowing. Especially so when a hurricane or cyclone stops everything from moving very far. At least carbon fuels can be stored in small cans for such occasions. Tough to jump-start a Tesla even when it’s dry.

    • jazznick1 permalink
      September 9, 2021 8:31 pm

      It’s also rather expensive to replace your EV’s “fuel tank” every few years.
      Can be £5,000 plus.
      EV running cost comparisons often leave this expense out of their calculations.

      At £5k over 10 years life and doing 10,000 miles p.a : that’s an extra allowance of 5p per mile that needs to be added to your daily motoring expenses so you have enough cash to replace the EV’s fuel tank when it dies.

      Just as well these old gasoline powered vehicles have fuel tanks that remain just as effective throughout the life of the vehicle, amazing value and straightforward to re-cycle !

      • Duker permalink
        September 10, 2021 7:12 am

        Generally right . The low initial maintenance costs are back loaded to years later.
        I understand that taxi owners have access to battery repair places where they can diagnose and replace often only the few cells that are below par to keep the charging up to the standard.

      • Rowland P permalink
        September 10, 2021 9:56 am

        And, I believe, recycling of the batteries is an absolute nightmare regarding trying to separate the individual constituencies. Future problem conveniently ignored.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      September 10, 2021 12:03 pm

      Today’s Mail had a piece on a coming requirement for all new houses to have a ‘smart’ battery car charger. The ‘smart’ bit being the when – not if of course – there is a power shortage your charger can be shut off. But then everything labelled ‘smart’ is usually a dumb idea.

  3. tomo permalink
    September 9, 2021 9:04 pm

    What triggered me to look was vociferous local intermittent energy fanboys proclaiming solar is unsubsidised – when I know it is….

    Even Guardian has covered the fact that Boris is going to cave to the Green Blobbers – see this article from Nov 2020

    The shysters are presently getting their planning applications in.

  4. Robert Christopher permalink
    September 9, 2021 9:51 pm

    And there is the problem of finding a sufficient quantity of suitable metals to construct these magic ‘renewable’ energy converters:
    Kitco NEWS: Deep-Sea Mining set to become a $100 billion plus industry but U.S. can’t participate

    I am sure all the PPE, History, Classics and Marketing graduates, as well as the lawyers and journalists will be able to sort out the technicalities before the STEM graduates can ask ‘But do you have a plan?’

    • The Informed Consumer permalink
      September 9, 2021 10:31 pm

      So humankind abandons technology (Oil, Coal and Gas production) which has it’s problems but they are well known and can be dealt with on most occasions quite efficiently, for a minerals industry with no clue of it’s environmental impact.

      Let’s just all throw the baby out with the bathwater, shall we?

      • The Informed Consumer permalink
        September 9, 2021 10:32 pm

        Not Informed Consumer – HotScot. Wikipedia playing it’s usual games.

      • The Informed Consumer permalink
        September 9, 2021 10:33 pm

        WordPress, even……..

  5. Gamecock permalink
    September 9, 2021 10:03 pm

    “It’s morally wrong to allow a sucker to keep his money.” – W. C. Fields

    If your government is so stupid as to give them money, it is Next Energy’s duty to take it.

    • Martin Brumby permalink
      September 10, 2021 7:57 am


      I can follow the logic of that.

      However, it seems unreasonable if the bilked and despised taxpayer is denied the pleasure of mounting the heads of virtue signalling Beloved Leaders on pikestaffs.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      September 10, 2021 8:32 am

      Not when that money is forcibly removed from me with the threat of violen if I don’t comply.

      Shareholders who farm taxpayer’s money in this way are morally wrong. By all means have suckers freely handing over their own money, but not suckets handing over my money.

      • Gamecock permalink
        September 10, 2021 1:52 pm

        You elected them.

        Democracy has consequences.

      • Gamecock permalink
        September 10, 2021 10:30 pm

        Let me make sure you get my point:

        This post by Mr Homewood is about Next Energy. They are NOT the bad guys. Your government is.

  6. cookers52 permalink
    September 10, 2021 8:14 am

    We are transitioning energy sources away from hydrocarbons to get to net zero emissions.

    All life is based on hydrocarbons, so less free hydrocarbons equals less life on earth.

    The strategic political policy has an unachievable goal, nobody seems to know what the transition plan is, the cost is at best uncertain, no risk management analysis can be attempted because we don’t know what we are doing.

    The key question of whether the transition will
    increase our vulnerability to climate change is lost in the virtue signalling.

    Our current world leaders only skill is to present failure as success. All the recipes for a total cock up.

  7. Phoenix44 permalink
    September 10, 2021 8:38 am

    I’m not sure your analysis of the compastructure is correct. Lenders and those owed money (HMRC say or suppliers) don’t just blindly accept structures in which they have no recourse to assets and/or financial backing. Banks and supply well require parent company guarantees and not just accept subsidiary risk in these cases. On any event they will be able to access the assets and will take (hopefully) a Conservative view of value in a failure (unless pressured by Carney not to).

  8. September 10, 2021 8:48 am

    See also my discussion about the Dudgeon Offshore Subsidy Farm, er Wind Farm, over at Cliscep:

    Finding the ultimate beneficiaries of UK bill payers’ compulsory largesse was eye opening.

    • tomo permalink
      September 10, 2021 10:16 am

      The menagerie of shell companies behind UK solar deserves some examination….

      I feel safe suggesting that Guernsey isn’t the residence of the final beneficiaries of taxpayer and electricity consumer “largesse”.

  9. Gerry, England permalink
    September 10, 2021 1:57 pm

    The shell company route is a good way to isolate liabilities. Norwegian Airline employed all its pilots as contractors through a shell company so that when Covid hit they could just say we no longer need any pilots so they are not making any redundancies. then the shell company goes belly up and the pilots are left with zero compensation and no job. A lot of the HGV driver shortage is down to agency work where they treat the drivers badly for low pay, and now the government had waded in over contract workers the jobs don’t even appeal to the Eastern Europeans.

  10. 2hmp permalink
    September 10, 2021 2:05 pm

    Solar electricity travels from the poor to the rich.

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