OMERS takes US$100 million stake in ‘world’s largest’ solar O&M business NovaSource

By Tom Kenning
Image: Novasource

OMERS Private Equity, an arm of Ontario-focused pension fund OMERS, has acquired a minority stake in the Arizona-headquartered solar operations & maintenance (O&M) provider NovaSource Power Services.

NovaSource, which is owned by Canadian investor Clairvest, provides global O&M services and has more than 20GW of solar and storage assets under management including residential, commercial, industrial and utility-scale power plants across North America, South America, EMEA, Asia and Australia.

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It became the world’s largest O&M business after acquiring US manufacturer First Solar’s O&M business last year. This came after Clairvest also bought the asset management unit of module manufacturer Sunpower leading to the creation of NovaSource.

NovaSource will remain the majority equity holder and proceeds from the OMERS investment will be used to finance NovaSource’s continued growth.

OMERS already has a large and growing number of sustainable investments in solar, wind and EV battery assets. For example, OMERS Infrastructure acquired a 49% interest in the Australian renewable energy platform of utility-scale solar developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) in October last year. It also acquired project developer Leeward Renewable Energy in 2018.

In January, NovaSource acquired aerial inspections and site data services provider Heliolytics – a company that it had already collaborated with – to expand its digital platform capabilities and support international expansion.

Angus Cole, managing director of Clairvest, said “OMERS brings expertise and relationships in the industry which will complement nicely with Clairvest’s deep knowledge in the renewable energy sector. Together, we will help management build an asset of strategic significance in the solar O&M space.”

In a recent feature for PV Tech, Timo Moeller, president of International NovaSource Power Services and head of NovaSource in Europe, warned that short-term thinking by investors in the solar industry was leading to companies cutting down costs. He also called for expertise at every step of a PV project’s lifecycle to maintain long-term standards.

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