photo: WorldWater & Solar Technologies
The consolidation of the solar industry got underway Monday with the acquisition of San Francisco-based green energy financier MMA Renewable Ventures by Spanish solar developer Fotowatio.
The Madrid-based company will purchase most of MMA Renewable’s solar assets – including the world largest photovoltaic power plant and its pipeline of projects – making it one of the biggest solar developers in the United States.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
MMA Renewable CEO Matt Cheney told Green Wombat that he’ll continue as CEO of what will be called, for now, Renewable Ventures and that his staff will be joining him. MMA Renewable Ventures was a subsidiary of Municipal Mortgage & Equity, which has been hit hard by the financial crisis.
Fotowatio, on the other hand, scored $350 million in funding last July from General Electric (GE) and Grupo Corporativo Landon. “You’re taking a very robust player in the European market see how much opportunity and potential there is in the U.S. market,” says Cheney. “It’ll produce one of the biggest, if not the biggest, independent solar power producers. It’s the story of consolidation.”
MMA Renewable Ventures raises funds to invest in big commercial solar arrays and photovoltaic power plant projects. The company finances the construction of solar systems by companies like SunPower (SPWRA) and retains ownership of the arrays, selling the electricity under long-term power purchase agreements.
Last year MMA Renewable and Chinese solar giant Suntech (STP) created a joint venture called Gemini Solar to build large-scale photovoltaic power plants. Cheney said Gemini will continue under Fotowatio.
When the deal closes, Fotowatio will gain 35 megawatts of solar projects in the U.S. with another 400 megawatts under development.
Cheney says the Fotowatio acquisition is a sign of the times as the global economic crisis and falling prices for solar cells disrupts the renewable energy market. “There’s a shakeout in the marketplace and there’s opportunities for consolidation.”