Sumitomo Corporation of America (SCOA) and its parent company Sumitomo Corporation have invested in the 550MW Desert Sunlight Solar Farm which is currently under construction in the Californian desert in the US. As a result, the companies have acquired a 25% share in the project.
Sumitomo purchased the 25% share from GE Energy Financial Services which still remains as a shareholder in the project. The acquisition represents the company’s first investment in a US solar project, and its fifth renewable energy investment in the US.
The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm project — whose other investors include GE Energy Financial Services and NextEra Energy Resources — was initially developed by US utility-scale solar project developer First Solar. The solar behemoth will construct, operate and maintain the project which utilizes the company’s advanced thin-film PV technology. Construction began during September 2011 and is expected to be fully operational by 2015.
According to the US Department of the Interior, Desert Sunlight is the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) facility approved for US public land. It is estimated to generate enough energy to power more than 165,000 homes per year. It is located on approximately 4,100 acres, and the facility is estimated to create more than 630 jobs at peak construction.
When complete, the 550MW project will supply Southern California Edison with 250MW of power and Pacific Gas & Electric with 300MW of electricity under 20-year power purchase agreements.
Commenting on the investment, Teruyuki Miyazaki, vice president of the Power & Telecommunications Business at SCOA, said, “The investment in Desert Sunlight is a good representation of what Sumitomo is doing in regards to supporting a clean energy future. This, along with our earlier investments in major renewable energy projects in the U.S., allows us to leverage our experience and know-how as a long-term strategic investor and work with strong partners on high-quality renewable energy projects in the advanced stages of development or construction.”
In the US, Sumitomo’s renewable energy portfolio currently holds more than 1,800MW in projects. Globally, the company is an investor in four solar power projects — 31MW project in southern France, 14MW project in Canary Island, Spain, 10MW project in southern Italy and a 5MW project in Germany.