A UK solar power pioneer has grown its profits eight-fold by investing in subsidy-free solar farms, a portion of which will help connect homes in Africa to small-scale solar-powered lighting systems. Solarcentury, one of the UK’s fastest growing renewable energy companies, will report profits of £14.4m for the year ending in March, compared with £1.5m the year before. A 5% share of the record profits will be channelled into SolarAid, a charity that has helped connect 2m homes in Africa to reliable electricity since it was founded by Solarcentury in 2006. The rapidly rising profits follow a four-year growth strategy in which the company has invested heavily in building and running subsidy-free solar projects in southern Europe, Latin America and Africa. In the year ahead the UK will emerge as a key focus for subsidy-free projects, owing to falling technology costs that have made solar power more economical in more overcast countries. The better than expected results are likely to stoke investor interest in the company, which was put up for sale this year and could fetch £250m for its current owners. But the sale could spell the end of the donations to SolarAid as the new owners will not… Read full this story
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