AES Semigas


25 January 2021

First Solar to sell US development platform to Leeward

Leeward Renewable Energy Development LLC of Dallas, TX, USA has entered into a purchase and sale agreement to acquire a utility-scale solar project platform of about 10GWAC from First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which makes thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe). The transaction is expected to close in first-quarter 2021, after obtaining regulatory approvals and satisfying customary closing conditions.

Leeward is a portfolio company of OMERS Infrastructure, an investment arm of OMERS, one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans (with CDN$109bn in net assets, as at end-December 2019). Upon closing of the transaction, Leeward will acquire the US project platform, which includes the Rabbitbrush, Madison, Oak Trail, Horizon and Ridgely projects (which are expected to commence construction in the next two years) as well as the 30MWAC Barilla Solar project (which is operational). First Solar will retain 1.1GWAC of projects in the USA that are expected to be sold separately. Key members of the First Solar project development team are also expected to join Leeward.

Subject to closing of the acquisition, Leeward will purchase 650MWDC of First Solar’s Series 6 PV modules for its additional development opportunities. The firm’s acquisition of the project platform also includes purchase orders for 888MWDC of Series 6 modules for the five development projects. Additionally, Leeward’s acquisition of the project platform will include 242MWDC of Series 4 modules safe-harbored under the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) program, 148MWDC of which has previously been booked. In total, the acquisition will comprise the acquisition of projects with module purchase orders, together with the entry into additional purchase orders, of about 1.8GWDC of First Solar PV modules, of which 744MWDC represent new bookings as of closing.

“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,” says Leeward Renewable Energy’s CEO Jason Allen. “The public recognizes that renewable energy is a key driver in combating the global issue of climate change. Solar and renewable technologies continue to advance and now provide economically viable solutions in virtually every market in the US,” he adds.

“The sale of the platform is a result of the strategic review we announced in 2020,” notes First Solar’s CEO Mark Widmar. “Enabled by our Series 6 module’s seamless compatibility with industry systems and processes, the sale is part of a transition that allows us to focus on doing what we do best, which is scaling, developing and selling our world-class module technology.”

The completion of the transaction is subject to a number of closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approval from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, and review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

See related items:

First Solar selling North American O&M business to NovaSource

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe