Canadian Solar in $280m sale deal

Canadian Solar will sell five large PV plants in Ontario to the real-estate developer Concord Pacific for C$290m ($280m), as it continues to ferociously monetize its large North American project pipeline.

Canadian Solar, which owns the development rights to the five projects totalling 49MW, will operate as EPC contractor – with construction to begin later this year for a 2014 finish.

It will also stay on as operations and maintenance provider. Taken together, the five ground-mount arrays will absorb 230,000 Canadian Solar CS6X modules and account for 500 jobs during peak construction.

Canadian Solar is unique among PV manufacturers which operate primarily in China, in that its headquarters are located in the province of Ontario.

Its position within Canada has been central to its highly successful expansion into downstream project development.

Canadian Solar is one of the world’s largest module suppliers, with shipping guidance of 1.8GW this year. But it also boasts a 780MW project pipeline – more than half of it in Ontario, and the rest in the US and Japan.

The company expects half its revenues to come from downstream this year, compared to just 13% last year.  That will put a tremendous wind at the company’s back, with its Ontario projects expected to net gross margins of 20%-25%.

Recent announcements have seen Canadian Solar selling four projects totaling 38.5MW to BluEarth for C$225m and another 10MW plant to TransCanada for C$55m.

In total, Canadian Solar expects to monetize more than two dozen PV projects in Ontario by the end of 2015, worth C$1.5bn.

Today’s announcement represents a major investment in renewables for Vancouver-based Concord Pacific, whose core business is residential real-estate development. 

Concord Pacific is also expanding into clean energy generation, however, having bought a 26MW wind farm in Saskatchewan several years ago.