The performance of John Laing Environmental Assets Group’s solar assets was impacted this summer by low solar irradiation, a lightning strike and inverter failures.

The investment group confirmed the issues within its results disclosure for the six months ended 30 September 2016, announcing that the performance of its solar PV assets throughout the period was 12% below expectation.

While 5% of this was attributable to lower solar irradiation than expected, 7% was the result of two site-specific issues that occurred over the course of the summer, with restoration work still ongoing.

JLEN’s Monksham solar farm suffered significant damage from a lightning strike in late August which initially took the entire facility offline. The asset manager and O&M provider managed to bring 75% of the park’s operating capacity of 10.7MW back online in September, however it continues to operate at reduced capacity with replacement parts on order.

The site’s insurance is expected to cover the majority of costs and loss of revenue associated with the lightning strike.

Of greater complexity however are the issues affecting its Branden solar project, which JLEN revealed had suffered from a “number of technical issues” over the summer. Failures with its inverters and string connectors resulted in periods of unavailability and intermittent generation for several months.

Replacements were sourced and installed under warranty, and the EPC contractor is continuing to monitor the site’s ongoing performance.

Branden was constructed in 2013 and comprises two separate projects which have a combined capacity of 14.7MW. JLEN finalised its acquisition in August last year at the same time it also acquired the Monksham facility in a combined deal worth £20.37 million.

Outside of the issues affecting Branden and Monksham, JLEN’s total asset performance was “broadly in line” with expectation as the group recorded growth in its net asset value per ordinary share on the back of a forecasted increase in electricity prices.

And JLEN chairman Richard Morse expressed continuing optimism over the market’s future, despite uncertainties surrounding the international investment community following the Brexit referendum and other political incidents affecting global currencies.

“Despite current market uncertainties, the company continues to see attractive acquisition opportunities in the market and will continue with its cautious approach to growth to support its long-term targets for its shareholders,” Morse added.

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