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Solar M&A Roundup, May 2018

USA – Southern Power sells 33% stake in solar portfolio to Global Atlantic

Southern Power, a U.S. wholesale energy provider and unit of utility Southern Co. SO, +1.05%has reached agreement to sell a 33% stake in its solar portfolio to Global Atlantic Financial Group Ltd. for about $1.2 billion.

The stake comprises 26 operating solar facilities that account for about 1.7 gigawatts of capacity that is sold under long-term contracts. Southern Co. shares were slightly lower premarket, and are down 13% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 SPX, -0.34% has gained 14%.

UK – Bluefield Solar Income Fund acquires three sub-5 MWp solar power plants in south-west England

Bluefield Solar Income Fund Ltd (LON:BSIF) said on Thursday it has acquired three sub-5-MWp solar power plants in South West England for GBP 19.9 million (USD 28.2m/EUR 22.8m), including transaction costs and working capital.

The three photovoltaic (PV) installations, located in Dorset, are fully operational and have been generating electricity since March 2017. All of them are accredited under the UK’s Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) regime, getting 1.2 ROCs per MWh. Further details about the assets were not provided.

The acquisition price, paid in cash, was funded from an existing revolving credit facility of Bluefield Solar. The fund investing in UK solar assets currently has a portfolio of over 460 MWp.

Separately, Bluefield Solar said it will distribute a second interim dividend for fiscal 2017/18, ending June 30, of GBP 0.0180 per ordinary share. The allocation will be made on May 18.

Chairman John Rennocks said the firm is on track to meet its full-year target dividend of GBP 0.0743 per share.

Myanmar – Scan Inter to acquire 30% stake in GEP Thailand from Planet Energy Holdings

The board of Thai natural gas seller Scan Inter PCL (BKK:SCN) has approved the company’s planned minority investment in the entity that owns a 170-MW solar power project in Minbu City, Myanmar, it was announced on Monday.

Scan Inter has signed a deal to buy a 30% stake in Green Earth Power (Thailand) Co Ltd, or GEP Thailand, from Planet Energy Holdings Pte Ltd for USD 38.5 million (EUR 32.4m). GEP Thailand is the sole owner of the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) concessionaire that will develop and operate the above-mentioned project.

The solar park will be developed in four stages, three of 40 MW and one of 50 MW. It has a 30-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Electric Power Generation Enterprise (EPGE) at a tariff of USD 0.1275 per kWh. Completion of Phase 1 is scheduled for the first quarter of 2019. The total investment value of the project is estimated at USD 292.62 million.

Upon completion of the share purchase transaction, Planet Energy will continue to own an 18% stake in GEP Thailand. The remaining shareholders, in addition to Scan Inter, will continue to be Noble Planet Pte Ltd with a 5% stake, Vintage Engineering PCL with 12%, ECF Power Co Ltd with 20% and QTC Global Power Co Ltd with 15%.

Spain – ContourGlobal buys Acciona’s solar power assets in $1.19 billion deal

Britain’s ContourGlobal (GLO.L) on Tuesday agreed to buy Acciona’s (ANA.MC) solar power plants in a deal worth 962 million euros ($1.19 billion).

ContourGlobal said it would finance the purchase, which includes five concentrated solar power plants in Spain, through a combination of project financing of around 635 million euros and cash on the balance sheet.

It said it will pay the Spanish engineering and renewable energy company 806 million euros and take on existing net debt of 156 million euros. ContourGlobal expects the purchase to extend the average remaining contract life of its energy portfolio to 12 years from 11 years.

Spain – Grupo T-Solar acquires 5.6 MW combined capacity solar PV assets

Grupo T-Solar, an independent solar power producer and a portfolio company of I Squared Capital, has signed agreements to acquire three operating photovoltaic solar plants in Spain with a combined installed capacity of 5.6 megawatts from multiple sellers.

The transaction increases the company’s global portfolio to 392 megawatts of installed capacity.

Located in Badajoz, Seville and Toledo, the plants use tracker technology and can generate over 11 gigawatt-hours of clean energy per year. Combined with its recent transaction for 100 megawatts of concentrated solar power plants, T-Solar holds a leading position in Spanish solar generation and reaches global portfolio of 292 megawatts of photovoltaic solar power plants.

UK – Foresight Solar buys 53.3-MW portfolio

Foresight Solar Fund Ltd (LON:FSFL) said today it has acquired a 53.3-MW portfolio of operational photovoltaic (PV) parks in the UK, expanding its own portfolio to include 27 solar assets totalling 674 MW.

The fund has acquired the assets mentioned in the table below for a total of GBP 36.6 million (USD 51.4m/EUR 41.7m), including transaction costs and about GBP 4.2 million of cash balances. The newly purchased portfolio comes with a long-term, fully amortising debt facility provided by Macquarie Infrastructure Debt Investment Solutions. The balance outstanding is GBP 31.8 million.

NameCapacityLocationCommissioning dateSupport
Verwood20.7 MWDorsetMay 20151.4 ROCs/MWh
Park Farm13.2 MWLeicestershireJuly 20151.4 ROCs/MWh
Coombeshead9.8 MWDevonAugust 20151.4 ROCs/MWh
Sawmills6.6 MWDevonSeptember 20151.4 ROCs/MWh
Yardwall3 MWSomersetSeptember 2015Feed-in Tariff (FiT)

The acquisition portfolio also includes a FiT-backed, 0.5-MW onshore wind asset that has been operating since 2014. The company plans to hold this asset on a temporary basis until it can be sold.

Foresight Solar has paid for the purchase using its existing revolving credit facilities. Its total outstanding debt now amounts to GBP 276.2 million.

Italy – Terra Firma Capital Partners to sell 332 MW solar portfolio owner Rete Rinnovabile

Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd has fired the starting gun on the process to sell Italian solar power producer RTR Rete Rinnovabile, Reuters reports, quoting multiple sources.

The London-based buyout firm has sent out information documents to possible suitors, one of the insiders has said. Another one told the news agency that pre-marketing would commence soon and full data would be provided to interested parties early next month.

Terra Firma is receiving advice from UniCredit, JP Morgan and Jefferies.

RTR owns 132 solar parks in Italy with a combined capacity of 332 MW. The company could be worth over EUR 1 billion (USD 1.24bn), Reuters said, adding that its core earnings exceeded EUR 135 million in 2017.

When first reporting on the process last year, Reuters said, again quoting sources, that EF Solare Italia, a joint venture between utility Enel SpA (BIT:ENEL) and infrastructure fund F2i, was seen as a frontrunner in the race. Now, informed people have told the news agency that, in addition to several investment funds, some oil companies may also be interested in a transaction.

China – ReneSola sells 40.13% stake in its unit Zhejiang ReneSola Investment Ltd

ReneSola Ltd has sold a 40.13% stake in its Zhejiang ReneSola Investment Limited subsidiary, which deals with its distributed generation (DG) solar PV projects in China.

The unnamed investor has paid RMB 200 million (around US$31.5 million) for the stake in ReneSola, which has over 187 MW of operational DG solar projects, and an additional 28 MW under construction. By the end of this year, it intends to own 350 to 400 MW of DG projects in China.

Overall, the Chinese solar PV project developer says it has a global PV project pipeline totaling around 1.1 GW, of which 92.2 MW of these are under construction.

“This strategic investment provides an important capital infusion enabling us to execute our downstream project development plan in China …We are confident that our DG project development in China will continue to drive our growth in 2018 and beyond,” said ReneSola CEO, Xianshou Li.

Of the 9.65 GW of solar PV China installed in the first quarter of 2018, 7.68 GW comprised DG systems, reported China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) at the end of last month. This is the first time new DG installations have overtaken utility-scale solar in China. Cumulative DG capacity as of the end of 2017 is said to be 19 to 20 GW.

UK – Wirsol Energy acquires two solar parks

  • Outwood Solar Park, Essex – 7MWp DC
  • Trowse-Newton Solar Park, Norfolk – 9MWp DC

Wirsol Energy Ltd (WIRSOL), the company responsible for the UK and Australian markets within WIRCON Group today announces that it has acquired the project rights for two new projects that will be constructed and connected to the grid during the first half of 2018.  Construction will begin in Januaryy 2018 and WIRSOL is in the final stages of securing a long term PPA and debt such that these projects will be held within the group.  These projects form the beginnings of a portfolio of circa 150MWp that will be built over the next 12-18 months. The portfolio will consist of six projects ranging in size from 7MWp to circa 45MWp.

This acquisition follows on from the recent announcement that WIRSOL’s joint venture with HIVE Energy for the development of the Cleve Hill Solar Park. With a proposed DC Capacity exceeding 350MWp the project is designated as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project; currently in the consultation phase planning submission is scheduled for mid-2018.

Mark Hogan, Managing Director of WIRSOL, commented: “Within WIRSOL we pride ourselves on the ability to change and adapt with market conditions and with our competence in specific project finance we are able to build on our emerging reputation of delivering assets of high quality and performance.  These parks will be designed such that battery storage can be added to the projects at a later stage once the economics and warranties match our investment criteria. We are close but not there yet and as such storage will be phase 2 of the project build out.  The UK and its energy market form a key cornerstone of the WIRSOL business under my responsibility, along with Australia where we already have a market leading position with 400MWp under construction and a further 470MWp in development for rollout before 2020.  Truly unique and exciting times on our very own Solarcoaster!”

Peter Vest, Managing Director of WIRCON declared: “The UK team, which is also leading our market entry into Australia, is achieving some remarkable results. We continue to focus on these key geographies as we rollout the solar projects and look to deploy additional technologies which are accretive to the fiscal returns of our global business.  Having recently secured additional group funding for specific geographies we now plan on capturing long term yields and optimizing returns to our shareholders, key stake holders and partners.  The next 2-3 years within WIRCON and WIRSOL are set to be challenging but hugely exciting.”