First Solar sells 10-GW utility-scale development pipeline to Leeward Renewable Energy

First Solar has entered into a purchase and sale agreement with Leeward Renewable Energy Development, in which Leeward will acquire First Solar’s utility-scale project platform of approximately 10 GWAC. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.

Headquartered in Texas, Leeward is a portfolio company of OMERS Infrastructure, an investment arm of OMERS, one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans. Upon closing of the transaction, Leeward will acquire the U.S. project platform, which includes the Rabbitbrush, Madison, Oak Trail, Horizon, and Ridgely projects that are expected to commence construction in the next two years, as well as the 30-MWAC Barilla Solar project, which is operational. First Solar will retain 1.1 GWAC of projects in the United States that are expected to be sold separately. Key members of the First Solar project development team are also expected to join Leeward upon closing.

Subject to closing of the acquisition, Leeward will purchase 650 MWDC of First Solar’s Series 6 solar modules for its additional development opportunities. Leeward’s acquisition of the project platform also includes purchase orders for 888 MWDC of Series 6 modules for the five development projects referenced above. Additionally, Leeward’s acquisition of the project platform will include 242 MWDC of Series 4 modules safe-harbored under the solar ITC program, 148 MWDC of which has previously been booked. In total, upon closing, Leeward’s acquisition of the project platform will comprise the acquisition of projects with module purchase orders, together with the entry into additional purchase orders, of approximately 1.8 GWDC of First Solar PV modules, of which 744 MWDC represent new bookings as of closing.

“This acquisition will support our aggressive growth strategy as a leading independent power producer and elevate Leeward’s prominent position in today’s energy market,” said Jason Allen, chief executive officer, Leeward Renewable Energy. “The public recognizes that renewable energy is a key driver in combating the global issue of climate change. Solar and renewable technologies continue to advance and now provide economically viable solutions in virtually every market in the US. We will continue to grow our wind, solar, and storage presence so we can continue to provide clean energy to our existing and future customers as they pursue their net-zero emission goals.”

“The sale of the platform is a result of the strategic review we announced in 2020 and we’re pleased that it will be acquired by Leeward, a company that shares our values and vision for a sustainable energy future,” said Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar. “Enabled by our Series 6 module’s seamless compatibility with industry systems and processes, the sale is part of a transition that allows us to focus on doing what we do best, which is scaling, developing, and selling our world-class module technology.”

First Solar announced last year it would get out of the installation game to instead focus on manufacturing its brand of thin-film solar modules.