KKR today announced the acquisition of three solar photovoltaic (“PV”) energy projects (“SSM Solar”) from an affiliate of Starwood Energy Group. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Located in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, SSM Solar has a total capacity of 69MWdc and 60MWac, representing one of the largest PV facilities in North America and the second largest in Canada. SSM Solar is fully contracted to sell its energy output to the Ontario Power Authority (“OPA”) under 20-year power purchase agreements entered under the authority’s Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program (“RESOP”). SSM Solar powers approximately 7,000 households.
“Ontario has been at the forefront of encouraging new development to bring additional renewables capacity online, and with this acquisition, we are playing a meaningful role in the growth of renewables in the province,” said Raj Agrawal, KKR’s Head of North American Infrastructure. “When it comes to infrastructure, renewable energy is one of our top priorities; not only is the sector a critical part of energy supply diversity, but these investments can also provide investors with highly predictable long-term income streams.”
Overall operations and management of the solar projects will continue to be handled by EDF Renewable Energy under three separate long term operations and maintenance agreements.
Ontario, with a population of 13.5 million, is the largest power market in Canada with 38.3GW of installed capacity and peak demand of approximately 24 GW. The Ontario solar market is one of the fastest growing utility scale solar markets globally. Starting in 2006, Ontario put in place specific programs to encourage development of renewables capacity, including OPA RESOP and FiT programs, which offer economic incentives in the form of long-term power purchase agreements. These programs also standardize environmental approvals and offer priority access to renewables to connect the electric grid.
SSM Solar represents KKR’s eighth infrastructure and its fourth renewables investment through KKR investment vehicles. Other renewable investments include a partnership with Sorgenia, one of the largest wind farm operators in France by installed capacity, a partnership with T-Solar, the largest owner/operator of solar photovoltaic generation assets in Europe; and SunTap Energy, a partnership with Recurrent Energy that is focused on acquiring solar photovoltaic electric generating facilities in North America.