EUROPE - A German Pensionskasse has commissioned specialist Austrian asset manager Clean Capital to invest €25m in the Italian renewable energy market.

The investment in photovoltaic systems will include several photovoltaic plants with a total nominal capacity of 5-6 MW in Italy, Clean Capital told IPE.

Managing director Martin Dürnberger said he could not name the investor, but confirmed it was a German Pensionskasse.

The pension fund will make a direct investment in a limited company managing the operation, with payments structured over 20 years, offering an expected return of around 15%, Dürnberger added.

The mandate was awarded shortly after Clean Capital made its first foray into the Italian market in December last year, purchasing photovoltaic systems worth €5m in the Piemont region for its CC Solar Zwei fund.

"We see a clear trend to alternative investments," Dürnberger said. "Sustainability and certainty of return over the long term, as well as professionally managed projects, are sought-after investments."

The company noted that Italy, similar to Germany, subsidised photovoltaic energy, adding that government had agreed to buy energy off the provider over 20 years after the plant started operating.

Clean Capital specialises in making direct investments in solar energy available for investors. It made its first acquisition in Germany last summer, a 1.2 MW plant.

Dürnberger said: "Internationally, there are only few experts who can structure such investments."

He added his company had been selected by many domestic and foreign investors because of its focus on high technical standards in the construction of photovoltaic systems, which ensured the sustainability of the investment.