Gaz Métro acquires Standard Solar to enter U.S. commercial market

Standard Solar's project portfolio, like this rooftop array on the Terry Sanford Federal Building, made it the perfect acquisition target for Gaz Métro, which has been looking for a way to enter the U.S. commercial solar market.

Canadian energy giant Gaz Métro has been searching for an entree into a U.S. commercial solar market it sees as on the cusp of exploding. Today, it finally found its path.

This morning, the company announced it had purchased Maryland commercial solar installer Standard Solar, a company that currently has projects in seven of the top 10 solar states in the country.

Standard Solar has 100 MW of projects currently under management and an 80 MW pipeline of commercial projects, which gives Gaz Métro an instant presence in the U.S. commercial market. The Maryland company will continue to operate under its own name with its current management. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In addition to its experience in the U.S. commercial market and the ample pipeline, Gaz Métro executives said that what made the transaction most attractive was the similarities in the companies’ values.

“We see in Standard Solar many of the same attributes we value as a company, including their commitment to anticipate and address the needs of current and future customers as well as the regions, municipalities and communities where it is established,” said Martin Imbleau, Senior Vice President Operations, Transport and Development of New Energies at Gaz Métro.

“This is an exciting acquisition for Gaz Métro as it allows us to further diversify our energy solutions offerings, to reinforce our commitment to an energy transition and to strengthen our presence in the United States,” he added.

The cash infusion from the acquisition will allow Standard Solar to expand its product offerings to its current clients, expand the number and kinds of projects in which it can participate, and explore the possibility of becoming an independent power producer (IPP).

“This acquisition positions us to become an independent power producer,” said Scott Wiater, president and CEO of Standard Solar. “We can accelerate and streamline every project including financing a fully developed project, offering developers our full suite of engineering, procurement and construction functions, or providing services in between.”

Part of Gaz Métro’s desire to get into the U.S. commercial markets are the projections it has seen in recent months about the market’s potential growth. GTM Research’s U.S. Commercial Solar Landscape 2016-2020 report projects continued market growth in the segment and, that by 2020, the U.S. commercial and industrial (C&I) segment (including government and non-profit installations) will reach 3 GW and a value of $3.8 billion.

In addition, the C&I sector outpaced the residential sector for the first time since 2011, according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight 2016 Year in Review. GTM Research believes this robust growth will continue over the next five years.

Gaz Métro has $2.9 billion in assets already in the United States and serves more than 315,000 clients through its various businesses and affiliates in the U.S. Northeast. It is involved in the U.S. utility industry through Vermont subsidiary Green Mountain Power.