US firm First Solar is to acquire German operations and maintenance (O&M) company, Skytron Energy.

A subsidiary of global electronic system provider, AEG Power Solutions, Skytron has more than 600 power plants, totalling 5GW, installed across Europe. The acquisition will more than double First Solar’s global O&M portfolio. However the transaction is still awaiting the go-ahead from the Bundeskartellamt, the German merger authority.

First Solar said that the acquisition is in parallel with its goals to provide turnkey solar services and to expand its portfolio to reach new opportunities in Europe.

"Skytron has a high quality, operations-based foundation and a strong portfolio of valued customers," said Bob Callery, First Solar's vice president of O&M. "They bring considerable strategic value.”

The intercontinental acquisition further establishes “solar as a given part of the global energy mix", added Callery.  

Skytron benefits from “the reach of First Solar's powerful sales and service network, as well as its installed base", said Jeffrey Casper, AEG’s chief restructuring officer. "This deal opens a wealth of prospective growth and development for all parties."

Skytron will operate as a subsidiary of First Solar, maintaining its own brand identity. "Skytron employees will remain with the organisation," said Callery, "and operations will continue without disruption."  

According to figures from market research firm IHS, First Solar cemented its position as the world’s leading solar engineering, procurement and construction contractor last year, but is set to be overtaken in 2014.