Rubis acquires 80% of French solar developer Photosol for US$425m

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A 43MWp agrivoltaic project from Photosol in eastern France. Image: Photosol.

Fuel distribution company Rubis has entered the PV sector with the acquisition of a majority stake in Photosol, a France-based solar developer and independent power producer.

Specialising in utility-scale and agrivoltaic projects, Photosol has a portfolio of more than 400MWp of solar in operation or under construction as well as a 3GWp portfolio under development.

The acquisition, expected to close by the end of Q1 2022, will see Rubis purchase 80% of Photosol for €376 million (US$425 million), while the remaining 20% will be owned by the company’s founders and managers.

“We have been impressed by the similarities between Rubis and Photosol in the way both companies have developed focusing on the niche segments,” Photosol management said in a joint statement.

France’s Rubis has also created a new division focused on the development of renewable energy that will aim to own and operate more than 2.5GW of installed capacity by 2030.

Clarisse Gobin-Swiecznik, managing director at Rubis, said the combination of Rubis’s know-how with the skills of Photosol’s teams will allow the company to develop new projects and “become a leader in France regarding both ground-mounted and rooftop plants”.

Rubis also hopes to leverage its international footprint to support Photosol’s expansion overseas, in markets across Africa and the Caribbean.

The deal comes after Rubis started its diversification towards less-carbonised energies with a collaboration announced earlier this year with hydrogen company Hydrogène de France.

Other recent acquisitions in France’s solar sector include EDF Renewables and Cero Generation (a portfolio company of Macquarie’s Green Investment Group) each buying a 45% stake in agrivoltaics specialist Green Lighthouse Development.

Macquarie announced last month it is acquiring a 90% interest in French independent solar power producer Apex Energies Group from a consortium of investors.

Solar PV additions in France reached a new high this year of 2.5GW, according to trade body SolarPower Europe, which said permitting procedures need to be simplified for the country to reach its deployment targets.

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