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Solar Power Deals & Company News

Deals and company news from the global solar sector this week

Black Coral Capital will finance an additional $1.5m in additional secured non-convertible notes with residential solar systems provider One Roof Energy. Black Coral initially purchased $3m in principal amount of notes. One Roof will use the notes for both general working capital purposes and investment in solar projects. It has operations in seven US states.

France’s EDF wants to expand into new renewable energy markets outside Europe, said chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy, telling financial daily Les Echos Levy the company will seek to double its renewables assets to 50GW by 2030. While EDF will keep its focus on key markets such as France, the UK and Italy, it will attempt to build up its international operations. Levy noted that only 5% of EDF’s assets are currently located outside Europe. “By 2030, we want to have a significant presence in three to five countries outside Europe, notably in solar and wind,” Levy is quoted as saying.

United Photovoltaics has picked up 170MW of solar capacity at four sites throughout China. It acquired the projects — which are located in the Inner Mongolia region and Zhejiang province — by purchasing a 100% equity stake in Nanjing Silk Road New Energy (NSRNE), which owns four developers that own and run four grid-connected PV projects. NSRNE is now a wholly owned unit of United PV, according to a statement on the Hong Kong stock exchange.  

Blue Earth subsidiary BE Solar has entered into a letter of intent to purchase full ownership in a 57.1MW PV project in Oregon from Pacific Northwest Solar based in Portland. The Nevada developer did not release terms of the transaction. Project construction will begin early next year with commercial operation in third quarter. Idaho Power will buy the electricity.

Yingli Solar signed deals with Qingdao New Energy Solutions to deliver 130MW of modules for projects in Zhejiang, Inner Mongolia, Shandong and other provinces in China. The first 30MW are already being delivered with the remainder shipping by the middle of next year, said Yingli. The modules will be used at industrial rooftop and agricultural projects.

NYSE-listed ReneSola has announced plans to buy back up to $20m of its American Depositary Shares. Under a share repurchase programme that its board of directors approved this week, the Chinese PV group said that it may start buying shares on the open market or in privately negotiated transactions over the next 12 months. “We believe that the current share price does not fairly reflect our growth prospects,” ReneSola chief executive Xianshou Li said in an online statement.

China’s Xi'an LONGi Silicon Materials plans to invest up to 80bn rupees ($1.2bn) to build a PV cell and module factory and a 500MW solar array in southeastern India, according to local media reports. The Xi’an-based company plans to annually produce 1GW of PV cells and 1GW of PV modules in the state of Andhra Pradesh, says The Economic Times. In June, Xi'an LONGi Silicon Materials signed a framework agreement with Yingli Green Energy to jointly produce monocrystalline silicon wafers, ingots, solar cells and PV modules

QBotix, the California-based maker of novel PV trackers, is no longer a going concern, according to a report in Greentech Media. Venture capital-backed QBotix raised tens of millions of dollars in recent years, including a funding round last year led by European renewables heavyweights E.ON and Iberdrola. But the company's robotic PV trackers failed to secure sufficient traction in the marketplace. QBotix has laid off its staff and ceased operations, the report says. Two weeks ago rival NEXTracker, which makes single-axis PV trackers, was acquired by Singapore-based Flextronics in a deal worth up to $330m.

La Compagnie du Vent, the renewables developer owned by French utility ENGIE (formerly GDF Suez), dedicated its 12MW Roc du Doun PV array in France in the presence of French President Francois Hollande. California-based SunPower supplied the project with panels made at its factory in Toulouse, France, under a broader supply agreement with La Compangie du Vent. France recently doubled the size of its 2015 large-scale solar procurement to 800MW because of the huge volume of low-cost bids it received in the tender.  

Invenergy Clean Power will build and then transfer its planned 20MW Morgans Corner solar facility in North Carolina to Dominion. Neither company disclosed financial terms of the transaction. The project is the first for Invenergy in the state. It will utilize proceeds from the transfer toward expansion of its independent power generation business in North America. The firm expects to “explore” continued solar development opportunities with Dominion in the future.

SolarWorld won a 65MW panel order from Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Co. in Oregon, representing the largest single-project module order in Germany-based SolarWorld’s history. SolarWorld will manufacture the 72-cell modules at its factory in Hillsboro, Oregon, and deliver them to the project in southeast Oregon. Panasonic Enterprises Solutions, a unit of Panasonic Corp. of North America, will build, own and operate the 65MW PV array in Malheur County. The project is due online in 2016.

A 5MW energy storage plant in Schwerin, Germany, built by Berlin-based Younicos has generated higher than expected revenues in its first year of operation, as prices for primary frequency control were significantly higher than anticipated, Younicos says. Regional utility Wemag, which owns and operates the facility, won each auction they participated in averaging a price of €3.81 ($4.25) per megawatt. But Younicos also says that there was “speculation” that TSO 50Hertz has been slow to pre-qualify the entire system, as it was favouring traditional utilities despite undisputed advantages of battery storage in delivering primary frequency control power over conventional thermal generators.

Conergy has agreed to construct an 18MW solar array in the Philippines for Monte Solar Energy, a joint venture between AC Energy Holdings and Bronzeoak Philippines. It will also design and procure components for the project, which will be built on a 21.4-hectare plot of land in Bais, Negros Oriental province. Upon completion in the first quarter of 2016, it will cater to the annual electricity needs of 10,085 homes, according to an emailed statement. Last week, Conergy expanded an existing bank guarantee facility to $75m with additional funding commitments from Goldman Sachs BDC. It has used more than half of the original $60m facility — arranged by Deutsche Bank in July 2014 — to fund projects in the Philippines and UK.

SunEdison says that the Northern District of California has granted the company's motion to dismiss charges filed by SunPower, with leave to amend. In June, SunPower filed a lawsuit against SunEdison and certain of its employees who previously worked for SunPower. The complaint alleged that former employees, among other things, violated the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by breaching SunPower's computer use policies and misappropriating its information. SunEdison moved to dismiss the claims arising under CFAA, SunPower's only basis for federal jurisdiction. The court granted the motion, ruling that SunPower failed to adequately plead a CFAA claim.

Southern Research will jointly fund with the US Energy Department a three-year project to support scale-up and demonstration of an innovative thermochemical energy storage system (TCES) that will allow concentrating solar power facilities to operate around the clock. It builds upon the company’s successful development of a low-cost calcium-based sorbent which reacts with carbon dioxide (CO) to store thermal energy. The technology holds promise to cost about one-quarter as much as current state-of-the-art molten salt storage systems.

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