First Solar is selling a 10 GW utility-scale solar project platform to Leeward Renewable Energy Development. The $261 million transaction is expected to close in the first quarter, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.
Leeward is a portfolio company of OMERS Infrastructure, an investment arm of OMERS, one of Canada’s largest benefit pension plans.
The deal includes the Rabbitbrush, Madison, Oak Trail, Horizon, and Ridgely projects, which are expected to start construction in the next two years, and the 30 MW Barilla Solar project, which is operational.
The project pipeline includes projects in the California, Southwest, and Southeast markets. Sale of the platform is a result of a strategic review First Solar announced last year, said CEO Mark Widmar. The sale is part of a transition that is intended to enable the company to focus on scaling, developing, and selling module technology.
First Solar will retain 1.1 GW of projects in the U.S. that it said will be sold separately. Key members of the First Solar project development team are also expected to join Leeward upon closing.
Leeward also will buy 650 MW of First Solar’s Series 6 PV solar modules for its additional development opportunities. Leeward’s acquisition includes purchase orders for 888 MW of Series 6 modules for the five development projects.
Leeward’s acquisition will include 242 MW of Series 4 modules safe-harbored under the solar investment tax credit (ITC) program, 148 MW of which have previously been booked.
“This acquisition will support our aggressive growth strategy as a leading independent power producer and elevate Leeward’s prominent position in today’s energy market,” said Jason Allen, CEO of Leeward Renewable Energy.
The sale is subject to a number of closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approval from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, and review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.
First Solar has 1.9 GW of annualized manufacturing capacity in Ohio and also operates manufacturing facilities in Vietnam and Malaysia. It produced 5.9 GW of Series 6 modules globally in 2020.
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