EDP Renewables targets distributed generation in US after C2 Omega acquisition

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EDP Renewables’ 20MW Cameron Solar Park in South Carolina. Image: EDP Renewables via Twitter.

EDP Renewables (EDPR) has completed its acquisition of the distributed solar platform of renewables investor C2 Energy Capital.

The platform, called C2 Omega LLC, has 89MW of operating capacity and a 150MW development pipeline including 200 installations in 16 US states.

Miguel Prado, chief executive of EDPR North America and of the new business arm, said the acquisition’s close “confirms our commitment to the North American market”, which the company said it would target for future growth in the coming months. EDP currently operates more than 7GW of renewable energy projects in the market.

With the acquisition closed, EDPR has formed a new business unit called EDPR NA Distributed Generation (EDPR NA DG), which will focus on the development, financing, construction and operation of community solar, distributed generation and commercial and industrial (C&I) projects in the UK. It will also leverage the “strong relationships” C2 Energy has fostered with local communities, municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals on their own energy transition.

EDPR, which is majority owned by Portuguese utility EDP, took an 85% shareholding in C2 Omega on 19 January in a move costing roughly US$119 million. The parent company said last month (27 February) that it will invest €24 billion (US$28.6 billion) on its expansion over the next four years, 80% of which will be earmarked for renewables. EDP pledged to deploy 4GW of clean energy generation capacity per year and double its solar and wind capacity to 25GW.

Candice Michalowicz, EDPR NA DG’s newly appointed chief operating officer said the new business unit will provide “comprehensive” services from virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs) to rooftop installations, ensuring EDPR can access “the entire distributed generation market”.

Installed distributed generation capacity could account for 30% of new additions to the renewables market by 2030, according to Miguel Fonseca, a board member of EDP Commercial. Speaking at the Global Energy Summit hosted by London Business School last month, he added that if renewables companies “want to achieve significant growth, you cannot discredit what will be 30% of the market in the next 10 years”.

recent study from trade bodies Sunrun, Vote Solar and the Coalition for Community Solar Access  found that deploying at least 247GW of rooftop and community solar, as well as 160GW of local energy storage, is the most cost-effective way for the US to transition to a clean energy system by 2050. 

A number of industry players have put their faith and financing in the US’ distributed generation and C&I solar markets this year. Yesterday (4 March), US solar and energy storage company Distributed Solar Development (DSD) landed construction finance worth US$150 million from Rabobank to support its C&I development pipeline until 2022, weeks after securing a US$300 million debt facility from Credit Suisse. EDF Renewables acquired 100% of US distributed generation company EnterSolar in January, and overseas, French oil major Total and industrial conglomerate Zahid Group formed a joint venture in March to develop PV installations for Saudi Arabia’s C&I sector.  

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