First Solar sells Canadian solar projects to GE-led partnership

First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) said Aug. 26 that it has sold a collection of solar projects in Ontario, Canada, totaling 50 MW (AC) to an investment partnership led by General Electric (NYSE: GE) unit GE Energy Financial Services.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. It is the first project transaction between First Solar and GE since their solar technology and commercial partnership was announced Aug. 6.

The ABW Partnership, originally announced in 2011, consists of majority owner GE Energy Financial Services and Alterra Power, which made an equity contribution and will serve as the projects’ managing partner. The ABW Partnership raised debt for the acquisition, with The Manufacturers Life Insurance Co. serving as agent and lead arranger. The debt syndicate consists of The Great-West Life Assurance Co., Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

First Solar has completed construction of the power plants – Amherstburg (10 MW (AC)), Belmont (20 MW (AC)) and Walpole (20 MW (AC)) – and has commissioned and energized them so they are providing power to the grid. First Solar will provide operations and maintenance services under long-term contracts. Output of the power plants will be sold to the Ontario Power Authority under its Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program (RESOP), with 20-year power purchase agreements.

“First Solar is proud to contribute to Ontario’s renewable energy objectives,” said Tim Rebhorn, First Solar’s Senior Vice President of Business Development–Americas.

GE Energy Financial Services said the Ontario projects contribute to its cumulative 1 GW, $1.5bn solar investment portfolio, comprising 50 installations, including several with First Solar in North America and Australia.

“Our Ontario investments deepen our longstanding relationship with First Solar and illustrate our interest in acquiring solar power projects at various stages of development and construction,” said Mark Tonner, managing director and Canada business leader at GE Energy Financial Services. “Through a variety of equity and lease arrangements, we help developers monetize their own investments.”

Earlier this month, First Solar and GE announced that First Solar had acquired GE’s solar technology intellectual property and that the two companies had entered into a collaborative commercial partnership.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.