Brookfield Renewable nets 13GW solar pipeline through Urban Grid acquisition

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Urban Grid has nearly 2GW of under construction or ready-to-build solar projects. Image: Urban Grid.

Renewables owner and operator Brookfield Renewable has tripled its US development pipeline to 31GW through the US$650 million acquisition of clean power developer Urban Grid.

The deal sees Brookfield Renewable, an affiliate of Brookfield Asset Management, take on Urban Grid’s pipeline, which includes 13GW of utility-scale solar and 7GW of energy storage across 12 US states.

Virginia-headquartered Urban Grid has nearly 2GW of under construction or ready-to-build solar projects. The business will continue to operate as an independent power producer (IPP) under its current name.

Brookfield Renewable said it will leverage its commercial capabilities to optimise the value of the developer’s pipeline.

“Urban Grid’s team not only deepens our development capabilities, but it also provides strategic access to key US markets, serving as the perfect catalyst to accelerate Brookfield Renewable’s growth,” said Mitch Davidson, CEO of Brookfield Renewable’s US business.

The acquisition follows Urban Grid closing US$275 million of debt refinance that was provided by asset management firm Crayhill Capital Management last October to scale up the developer’s solar and energy storage platform.

Urban Grid CEO Frank DePew, who founded the company in 2010 with an initial focus on commercial and industrial solar, said he will continue to lead the business as part of Brookfield.

Brookfield Renewable’s PV expansion saw it acquire a controlling interest in solar and wind asset owner TerraForm Power in 2017.

The company also owns Luminace, a commercial and industrial PV project developer that earlier this month announced a partnership with solar balance of system solutions provider Shoals Technologies to pursue distributed renewables and electric vehicle charging solutions in the US.

The Urban Grid transaction follows a host of other mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the global solar sector so far this year, including German asset manager KGAL Investment Management purchasing 50% of renewables developer GP Joule Projects and energy major Shell acquiring PV developer Solar-Konzept Italia.

There were a record 126 M&A transactions in the global solar sector last year, with most deals involving downstream companies, according to research from consultancy Mercom Capital Group.

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