Leeward Renewable Energy to Acquire Solar Development Platform from First Solar

·4 min read

Enhances Leeward’s position in U.S. renewable energy sector through acquisition of complementary market-leading project platform

Significantly accelerates growth of Leeward’s solar development focus

Leeward Renewable Energy, LLC ("Leeward"), a growth-oriented renewable energy company and portfolio company of OMERS Infrastructure, today announced that it has entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement (the "Agreement") with First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), through which Leeward will acquire from First Solar a utility-scale solar project platform of approximately 10-gigawatts (GW)AC.

Upon closing of the transaction, Leeward will acquire the project development platform, which includes 773 megawatts (MW)AC of projects that are expected to commence construction in the next two years, as well as the 30-MWAC Barilla Solar Project, which is operational. The pipeline includes projects in the California, Southwest and Southeast markets, which are geographically complementary to Leeward’s portfolio. The transaction will enable Leeward to expand its geographic footprint, furthering Leeward’s position in the U.S. renewable energy space. Key members of the First Solar development team are also expected to join Leeward upon closing.

Jason Allen, Chief Executive Officer of Leeward, said, "We look forward to welcoming the new team members who will join Leeward in connection with this transaction. The acquisition of this development platform from First Solar will support our aggressive growth strategy as a leading independent power producer and elevate Leeward’s prominent position in today’s energy market. 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 U.S. 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."

Tom Frazier, Managing Director, OMERS Infrastructure, said, "We are delighted to support today’s announcement as a key milestone for Leeward, and look forward to continuing to support Leeward’s growth. This news represents an integral next step for Leeward as a leading renewable energy platform in North America as it plays an important role in the broader energy transition."

Michael Ryder, Head of Americas, OMERS Infrastructure, said, "We are proud to have Leeward in our global portfolio of high-quality infrastructure assets. Further expanding our investment in clean energy is a priority for us as a key component of our broader commitment to environmentally sustainable investing. Supporting this acquisition and future growth at Leeward is an important part of that strategy."

Strategic Benefits

  • Furthers Leeward’s aggressive market growth strategy across wind, solar and storage technologies: This acquisition accelerates Leeward’s aggressive growth plan, and will make Leeward one of the top renewable energy companies in the U.S. market. Leeward will have streamlined and enhanced capabilities across key functions, such as origination and power marketing, and continue to offer its customers renewable energy solutions across the technology spectrum.

  • Accelerates the growth of solar development portfolio: With the transaction, Leeward’s solar development pipeline will reach 14 GW and be located in key markets across the U.S.

  • Provides geographic diversity and opportunity to expand into new markets: First Solar’s [pipeline] of development projects, with a strong presence in California, the Southwest, and the Southeast, is an ideal complement to Leeward’s existing portfolio of renewable energy assets, focused on the Midwest, West and Texas markets.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, following receipt of customary regulatory approvals and satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

About Leeward Renewable Energy, LLC

Leeward Renewable Energy is a growth-oriented renewable energy company that owns and operates a portfolio of 21 wind farms across nine states totaling approximately 2,000 megawatts of generating capacity. Leeward is actively developing new wind, solar, and energy storage projects in energy markets across the U.S. Leeward is a portfolio company of OMERS Infrastructure, an investment arm of OMERS, one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans with C$109 billion in net assets (as at December 31, 2019). For more information, visit www.leewardenergy.com.

About First Solar, Inc.

First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar solutions, which use its advanced module and system technology. The company’s integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s renewable energy solutions protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit www.firstsolar.com.

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