Investor buys Canada’s self-styled largest private solar PPA project

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Image credit: David Stanley / Flickr

A solar project billed as one of the largest in Canada’s history has changed hands this year, with a Toronto-headquartered infrastructure investor named as the new majority owner.

Capstone Infrastructure Corporation said on Thursday it has acquired a 51% stake in the 132 MWac Claresholm Solar project, slated for development towards the south of Alberta province.

The deal will see Capstone take over the 51% stake from Perimeter Solar, one of the PV project's two initial sponsors. Perimeter’s existing Danish partner Obton will retain its 49% stake.

In a statement, Capstone explained construction is set to commence this spring, following the planning green light by the Alberta Utilities Commission last year.  

Last October, it emerged that TC Energy – best known as the developer of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline – had agreed to become the offtaker of Claresholm for eight years.

At the time, the PPA covering 74.25MW of Claresholm’s 132MWac solar capacity was described as the largest private deal seen in the Canadian energy sector, up until that point.

The PV plant – located south of Alberta’s largest city Calgary – will share province with an even larger project, a 400MW venture by local developer Greengate Power.

Claresholm marks the Canadian debut for Denmark’s Obton, typically an investor in Northern European solar, as well as the firm’s first project worldwide to be backed by a private PPA.

When the PPA was inked last October, Obton CEO Anders Marcus said the firm had worked three years on the Alberta project. In addition, he shed light on the project’s post-PPA revenue prospects.

“With the expected increase in the price of electricity in Alberta as a result of, e.g. CO2 taxes and the phasing out of coal, we are convinced that we can also secure a good price for the electricity after that period, either through a new PPA or via the market,” the executive said.

The prospects and challenges of solar's new era in the US will take centre stage at Solar Media's Large Scale Solar USA, scheduled to take place in Austin (Texas) on 23-24 June 2020.

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