Norwegian hydropower giant Statkraft has taken over solar pioneer Solarcentury through a £117.7m ($151m) deal that adds 6GW to the Oslo-based energy developer’s portfolio in a key step towards its declared 2025 international PV and wind portfolio growth ambitions.

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The buy-out of Solarcentury, which since 2013 has developed 40 utility-scale projects in seven countries totalling over 1.6GW – along with numerous smaller renewables arrays, including the world’s first rail-station PV canopy at Blackfriars in London – marks a “renewed commitment” to solar, Statkraft said in a statement.

“This acquisition is in line with our strategy to ramp up as a wind and solar developer and become one of the leading renewable energy companies globally,” said Statkraft CEO Christian Rynning-Tønnesen.

“Just like hydropower and solar power complement each other, Statkraft and Solarcentury are an excellent fit in terms of purpose and people. Joining forces will accelerate our growth and continue to drive the energy transition forward.”

Solarcentury CEO Frans van den Heuvel added: “Solarcentury has grown entirely organically since 2007 into a highly profitable business. To continue to grow at the pace that is possible given the market we’re operating in, we will benefit from a larger balance sheet and this has resulted in us seeking new ownership.

“Statkraft is the perfect match for us given their ambition to invest in and grow their solar portfolio.”

The transaction, based around the acquisition of 100% of the shares held in Solarcentury by current owners Scottish Equity Partners, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Zouk Capital, and Grupo Ecos , is expected to catapult Statkraft into the top ranks of developers in the European solar market, with the addition of operational projects in Spain, the Netherlands, the UK, France, Greece and Italy. The Norwegian group after the acquisition will have a 6GW combined pipeline, 4GW of it from Solarcentury.

Statkraft, which through its hydropower network is Europe's biggest clean-energy producer, was an early mover in the offshore wind sector, but withdrew in 2018 and shifted direction to invest in other international renewables sectors, notably onshore wind, including the giant Fosen development in Norway, as part of a plan to have 8GW of wind and solar in place by 2025.

Statkraft currently has 2GW of wind in operation and construction.

It said the companies were “joining forces to realise ambitious growth targets, not to cut costs”, adding that “with people being the core asset, there are no current plans for job losses or redundancies”.

The take-over, conditional on customary regulatory and local competition approvals, is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.