Plutonic Power Corporation (TSX: PCC) and GE (NYSE: GE) unit GE Energy Financial Services have agreed to acquire a 50-megawatt (alternating current) portfolio of three photovoltaic solar facilities to be built in Ontario from First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR), marking Plutonic’s expansion into solar power and Ontario.
Plutonic Power is expected to make an equity contribution of approximately C$6 million and serve as the projects’ managing partner. Project debt will be arranged by First Solar on behalf of Plutonic and GE Energy Financial Services and is expected to be in place at financial close, which coincides with the start of commercial operation. Additional financial details were not disclosed.
“Expanding into both a new market and a new technology represents significant growth for Plutonic,” said Donald McInnes, Vice-Chairman and CEO of Plutonic Power. “Our solid relationship with GE Energy Financial Services enabled this expansion into our third joint near-term operating asset.”
“This transaction is GE Energy Financial Services’ first solar investment in Canada, broadening our US$6 billion renewable energy portfolio and supporting our strong partnership with Plutonic,” said Mark Tonner, Managing Director and Canada business leader at GE Energy Financial Services. “We see significant growth potential for solar power worldwide, which continues to improve on technology costs and efficiencies, and helps balance wind-generated power, which peaks at different times.”First Solar will continue developing the facilities—Amherstburg (10 MW), Belmont (20 MW) and Walpole (20 MW)—and will provide engineering, procurement and construction services and operations and maintenance services under long-term contracts. Permitting the projects under the province’s Renewable Energy Approval process is expected in the spring of 2011. Construction is expected to begin by mid-2011. “These projects will significantly expand Ontario’s supply of clean, affordable, sustainable solar energy,” said Frank De Rosa, First Solar senior vice president of project development for North America. “First Solar is pleased to be working with Plutonic and GE Energy Financial Services to realize these development projects.”