Southern buys Canadian Solar's 212MW Roserock project

Canadian Solar agreed to sell a controlling stake in its 212MW Roserock PV project under construction in West Texas to a unit of Southern Company, even as the solar giant continues advancing plans for a yieldco.

Southern Power, the IPP subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company, will buy a 51% stake in Roserock, which will be one of the largest solar projects in Texas upon its completion in late 2016.

Canadian Solar will retain a 49% stake in Roserock, which has a 20-year off-take contract with Austin Energy.

Canadian Solar’s plans for a yieldco wavered earlier this year as the share price of yieldcos like TerraForm Power and NextEra Energy Partners slumped. But the Guelph, Ontario-based company recently confirmed its intention to plough ahead with a yieldco in the quarters ahead, even as it continues to explore “alternative exit strategies” for some projects coming out of its pipeline.

Canadian Solar is the world's largest PV manufacturer based outside of China, and among the largest developers of solar projects, with a downstream emphasis on North America, Japan, and Brazil.

In discussing the company’s third-quarter results with analysts earlier this month, executives said Canadian Solar intended to sell “partial” stakes in several US projects in late 2015 to tax-equity investors.

The Roserock sale is the second major deal between Canadian Solar and Southern Company, following Southern's acquisition this August of a 51% stake in the 200MW Tranquillity project under construction in California.

Both projects were developed by Recurrent Energy, the solar developer Canadian Solar bought from Japan’s Sharp in early 2015.

Roserock is being built in Pecos County, West Texas, with McCarthy Building Companies serving as EPC contractor. The project will see 700,000 Canadian Solar CS6X-P modules installed on single-axis trackers.

In buying into Roserock, Southern is adding to "one of America's largest renewables portfolios", says Southern Power chief executive Oscar Harper.

“Southern Power’s first solar project in Texas helps further the company’s robust wholesale business and further expands our solar footprint,” Harper says.

Earlier this month Southern Company issued $1bn in green bonds to support future wind and solar projects, becoming the first investment-grade electric utility in the US to do so.