ReNews: UK Investor Agrees 175MW US PV Purchase

Commercial/ 24 December 2020

UK investor SDCL Energy Efficiency Income Trust (SEEIT) is to acquire a portfolio of solar and energy storage projects in the US with combined capacity over 175MW from Blackstone Group and take a 50% stake in Onyx Renewable Partners follow-on pipeline totalling more than 500MW. Blackstone will remain a 50% partner in Onyx, which created the solar portfolios. The total price of the consideration is $150m and initially covers over 200 operational, construction and development stage rooftop, carport and ‘private wire’ ground mounted solar PV projects in 18 US states.

Clients include municipalities, universities, schools, hospitals, military housing providers, utilities and corporates. The operational projects are contracted under long-term power purchase agreements with predominantly investment grade C&I counterparties. About 27% of the 175MW portfolio is operational or near operational, with the remainder expected to come online over the next 12 to 18 months. Onyx has a project development and asset management team based in New York. It will develop and manage further C&I on-site solar and energy storage projects in the US, which SEEIT will have a right of first refusal to purchase at a pre-agreed rate of return. The acquisition will be funded from existing cash reserves and debt facilities. Completion of the acquisition is expected in the coming weeks, after satisfaction of certain customary conditions and consents.

SEEIT’s investment manager is Sustainable Development Capital (SDC). SDC chief executive Jonathan Maxwell said: “We are delighted to further diversify the SEEIT portfolio through the acquisition of these on-site solar and storage projects and to partner with Blackstone in one of the largest sustainable energy initiatives of its kind in the US.

“The projects will make a meaningful impact to reduce the carbon footprint of commercial and industrial clients across the US by providing cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy directly at the point of use and is strongly aligned with SEEIT’s investment policy and objectives, as well as the global climate policy agenda.”

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