Denmark’s AIP Management has bought a 60% stake in US solar power generation and storage projects Victory Pass and Arica for more than $400m (€368m) in a new partnership with US firm Clearway Energy.

The Copenhagen-based direct infrastructure platform said this was its first US investment since setting up a New York office in November - its first US base - though it had been investing in US renewable energy since 2018.

The Danish firm said that on behalf of its AIP Infrastructure II fund, it had acquired the equity interest in a portfolio, consisting of the two co-located solar photovoltaic (PV) projects, coupled with battery energy storage system (BESS) facilities, located in Riverside County, California.

Kasper Hansen, AIP Management’s managing partner, told IPE Real Assets that the investment was more than $400m across the projects.

After buying the majority equity interest from the plants’ developer and constructor Clearway Energy, the latter would become a minority shareholder and continue to manage the facilities, as well as providing asset management, operations, and maintenance services to them once operational, AIP Management said.

Construction of the projects - which in total have 463MWac of PV capacity and 186MW of four-hour BESS capacity - began recently, it said, with the plants expected to go into operation in late 2023 and early 2024.

Lasse Helstrup, CIO at AIP Management, said: “We are excited to partner with a strong and capable organisation like Clearway Energy and hope to add additional projects to the partnership.”

Once operational, the solar complexes would increase AIP Management’s generating capacity in the US to more than 1.9GW, he said.

“Investing in the Victory Pass and Arica projects represents a significant milestone for AIP, since the establishing our NYC office in November 2022,” Helstrup said.

The firm has said it expects to invest more than $1bn into new US projects over the following two years, making it a core investment focus for the current fund.

AIP Management’s investors include Danish pension funds PKA, PenSam, AkademikerPension and Lærernes Pension as well as Norwegian financial group Storebrand and a group of Swiss institutional Investors.

The news comes a day after lobby group Insurance and Pensions Denmark (IPD) issued a stark warning that unless Denmark and the EU rapidly firmed up investment frameworks around the green energy transition, Danish pension funds would make their renewables investments in the US rather than Europe.

IPD said the Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden last August, was so good at creating the framework for investments in renewable energy, that it was difficult to defend investing in Europe now.

RePowerEU, the European Commission’s plan presented last May to slash the bloc’s dependence on Russian oil and gas and accelerate the green energy transition, could not keep up, the group said.

Natalie Jackson, senior deputy director of Capital Markets at Clearway Energy, said of the deal announced today: “AIP’s commitment as an experienced renewables investor validates Clearway’s reputation as a leading developer and experienced manager of clean energy assets in the United States.”

AIP Management said the California projects would have a total expected production of approximately 1,500GWh per year, producing enough electricity to supply the equivalent of 140,000 US households.

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