Solar farm business goes under after borrowing £655million from local council

Posted: November 12, 2022 by oldbrew in Accountability, Energy, Politics
Tags: ,


The UK electricity system’s so-called transition to renewables hits yet another bump in the road. The dream of guaranteed income was just an expensive illusion.
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One of the country’s largest solar farm owners has entered administration amid the fallout from a scandal that forced an Essex council leader to resign, reports The Guardian.

Administrators at Interpath Advisory have been appointed to Toucan Energy Holdings, which owns a portfolio of 53 solar parks with a combined capacity of 513 megawatts across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A recent investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that Thurrock council in Essex, Toucan’s main creditor, borrowed hundreds of millions of pounds to invest in the solar farm scheme run by globetrotting financier Liam Kavanagh.

Rob Gledhill, who was leader of Thurrock council, resigned in September, with the government appointing a commissioner to manage the Conservative-run authority.

Gledhill stepped down after the council made investments that could cost taxpayers £200m. An assessment by Camdor Global Advisors, which was appointed by the council to review the portfolio, concluded the solar farms were valued at less than was needed for the authority to recoup its money.

Kavanagh’s firms received a reported £655m from Thurrock over four years to buy up the 53 sites.

The figure includes a £138m payment that reportedly never reached the scheme’s management company. Kavanagh has claimed the £138m was “properly recorded” on his company’s balance sheet and the money was not specifically allocated for investment in solar farms.

Kavanagh, who reportedly owns a fleet of supercars, has said the solar farms could not be sold in their entirety to repay council debt.

Full report here.

Comments
  1. […] Solar farm business goes under after borrowing £655million from local council — Tallbloke’s… […]

  2. Graeme No.3 says:

    “Kavanagh has said the solar farms could not be sold in their entirety to repay council debt” and the £138m payment “was not specifically allocated for investment in solar farms”.
    Perhaps that £138m payment was for solar farms in, say, the Cayman Islands?

  3. oldbrew says:

    Power in the middle of the day isn’t going to command high prices in the UK where air con has little work to do.

  4. Gamecock says:

    Loaning money to a solar farm company is like loaning money to your brother . . . it’s really just a gift.

    With all the hype over renewables and EVs, expect many more schemes. The public is ripe for the taking.

  5. This is a good example of how Green ideology and starry-eyed activists should never be given a cheqye book. They went all in on enthusiasm and naive belief that Kavanagh was a virtuous fellow helping to save the planet. I recognize this as I was one if those idiots taken by an inventor who claimed his engines could consume H2S contaminated waste gas from oil facilities and turn it into zero H2S power.

    Ouch. The world is filled with smiling, rich con men.

  6. Phoenix44 says:

    Councils really should be prevented from investing. Why do they have such large sums anyway? They demand council tax whilst sitting on hundreds of millions. Thurrock’s annual council tax revenue is £70m so £210m would cover 10 years.

    In what world are the mediocrities than run councils considered competent to make investments?

  7. oldbrew says:

    The council was posing as a bank, but without the financial resources.

  8. Gamecock says:

    “Councils really should be prevented from investing.”

    It’s a trick. Government doesn’t invest; it spends. They say ‘invest’ to get people to accept it.

    Government spending – unacceptable.

    Government investing – acceptable.

    Same activity.

  9. Gamecock says:

    The council took the people’s money to a casino.

  10. BLACK PEARL says:

    Resigning yourself out of trouble should never be allowed, but its what politicians & people at ‘the top’ do ever time and their crimes are absolved.
    Current ongoing Vaccine scandal an example.
    Look what happened in China to the ones involved in their contaminated baby milk / powder a while back ‘BANG’ click ‘BANG’ Maybe its about time to take a leaf out of their book !

  11. ivan says:

    If the picture is of the actual solar instillation then it is no wonder that it failed, the panel angle is totally incorrect for the UK unless it was only a means to subsidy farm for the owners. They were never going to get maximum output at the angle of the panels which should be in the region of 66 degrees from the horizontal.

  12. oldbrew says:

    ivan – no, it’s in the UK but just an example.

    Re. the angle this Contractor Blog says…
    ‘The optimum roof angle of photovoltaic panels in the UK is 35-40 degrees. The exact angle depends on the latitude’

    https://blog.spiritenergy.co.uk/contractor/best-angle-solar-panels-uk

  13. ivan says:

    oldbrew, they have to say that because that is the average roof angle in the UK. The optimum angle depends on latitude, the angle of the earth axis and the time of year so you need a variable angle of the panels to keep the panel surface perpendicular to the sun. Since that isn’t feasible it is easier to just add 15 degrees to the latitude to get a panel angle that works most of the time. Although you can’t change the house roof angle they should be able to get that sort of angle on panels out in the open.

    I got increased output for a number of clients when I convinced the edf contractors on the panels of the rural electric scheme install.

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