Expansion of solar business: innogy secures exclusive rights for solar development projects in the US
Joint Development Agreement signed with US solar developer Birdseye Renewable Energy
Development Pipeline consists of 13 solar projects with a total capacity of approx. 440 MW
innogy’s subsidiary BELECTRIC is a leading specialist in constructing and operating utility-scale solar power plants
innogy SE continues to advance its renewables expansion strategy for the US market: After the recent signing to acquire an extensive onshore wind pipeline in the US, the Germany-based energy company innogy SE has, through its US subsidiary, joined forces with the US-based solar developer Birdseye Renewable Energy, LLC (Birdseye) to develop 13 solar projects with a total capacity of approximately440 megawatts (MW). The projects are in various stages of development and are located within attractive US power markets for renewable power generation. In addition to these projects, both companies will continue to pursue further opportunities to grow the relationship. With the last Friday signed agreement, innogy and Birdseye will jointly develop the portfolio and innogy will have sole and exclusive rights to acquire projects from the pipeline. innogy will construct and operate the acquired projects. Decisions to proceed with individual projects will be taken in line with innogy’s targets regarding leverage and financial stability.
Hans Bünting, COO Renewables of innogy SE, explains: “Solar power is one of the fastest-growing technologies in the energy sector and is becoming increasingly profitable without subsidies in many markets. The strategic partnership with Birdseye is an excellent starting point for us to develop and grow a valuable solar business in the US. Birdseye’s development pipeline and local active engagement with all stakeholders are a perfect fit with our strategy to deliver utility-scale solar projects in promising markets, like North America, with high irradiance and a strong commitment to renewable energy.”
“We are pleased that innogy, with its extensive experience in the renewables business, is on board with us in the development of this solar pipeline,” Brian Bednar, CEO of Birdseye Renewable Energy, LLC, adds. “Birdseye has built its business on close collaboration with select partners. We consider innogy and BELECTRIC’s culture and capabilities an ideal complement to Birdseye’s development platform. We look forward to advancing the initial 440 MW portfolio while also pursuing additional opportunities which grow our relationship in the US solar market.”
The current development pipeline includes three late-stage solar projects in North Carolina with a total capacity of approximately 20 MW and committed offtake. Construction of these projects is planned to start early 2019 with full commercial operation expected later that year. In addition, the remainder of the portfolio consists of ten earlier stage projects totaling approximately 420 MW located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi. The southeastern US is expected to be a hotspot for solar due to its high solar irradiance, competitive cost environment, growing appetite for renewables and positive macroeconomic outlook.
With its subsidiary BELECTRIC, innogy is one of the leading specialists for building utility-scale solar power plants and battery storage systems. It is planned that BELECTRIC will undertake all construction works (EPC) and will be responsible for the operation and maintenance (O&M) of all projects acquired by innogy from the Birdseye pipeline.
innogy SE took the important strategic decision to increase its interest in developing renewable activities in the US when it founded its subsidiary Innogy Renewables US, LLC in August 2016. The company is based in Chicago and explores opportunities for solar as well as onshore and offshore wind.
Renewables portfolio expanded by utility-scale solar projects
In terms of investments in solar, innogy is actively developing projects in several countries. innogy has already secured projects in Europe with in total a few hundred megawatts. The company has also secured a foothold in the Australian market with the acquisition of project rights for two solar power plants with a combined capacity of more than 460 MW in New South Wales. In addition innogy has signed an agreement with a Canadian developer for projects with a capacity of over 1,000 MW. The focus this year will be on developing projects from this pipeline of up to 260 MW to final investment decision stage. Through this, innogy has laid the foundation for investments in utility-scale solar projects worldwide.