Three-year-old developer sPower sold for $1.6 billion

It’s the numbers that take your breath away.

Three years. 1.3 GW. $1.6 billion. In order, that’s how long sPower has been around under Fir Tree Partners‘  umbrella, the scale of the company’s current operating portfolio of solar assets, and the amount of money a joint-venture between a Canadian and a U.S. firm will shell out to get it all (and more).

Fir Tree announced the completion of the deal with what can only be described as controlled glee – and why shouldn’t they? It nurtured a solar startup with a handful of projects into a company that currently operates 1.3 GW of U.S. utility-scale solar and holds a development pipeline of more than 10 GW – and then they managed to find a buyer willing to pay $1.6 billion in cash and assumed non-recourse debt.

That’s quite an accomplishment.

The buyer is a joint venture co-controlled by Virginia-based AES Corp. and the Alberta (Canada) Investment Management Corp. (AIMC0) on behalf of their clients.

“It is extremely rewarding to realize Fir Tree’s vision for sPower with the closing of the transaction,” said Jeffrey Tannenbaum, chairman of the board of sPower and founder of Fir Tree Partners. “We built a highly profitable business that will drive skilled worker job creation, local economic activity and reduced environmental damage.  We achieved this in spite of many obstacles that appear when a new industry challenges the status quo.”

According to the company, sPower’s currently operating utility-scale projects will power approximately 250,000 homes, eliminating 3 million metric tons of carbon pollution each year. In layman’s terms, that is the approximate equivalent of taking either taking 450,000 cars off the roads or planting 2.3 million acres of forest – a forest, when planted, that would nearly cover the entire state of Connecticut.

“With the help of Fir Tree, we have experienced incredible growth while positively impacting our communities,” said said Ryan Creamer, CEO of sPower. “We are proud of the lasting platform we have built and role it will play in driving the proliferation of clean energy across the United States.”