First Solar Sells Canadian PV Plants To GE-Alterra Partnership


First Solar Inc. has sold a 50 MW portfolio of solar projects in Ontario, Canada, to the ABW Partnership of GE Energy Financial Services and Alterra Power Corp. The GE unit is the majority owner. Alterra made an equity investment and will serve as the project's managing partner. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal was first announced in 2011.

It is the first project transaction between First Solar and GE since their solar technology and commercial partnership was announced Aug. 6. The ABW Partnership raised debt for the acquisition, with The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company serving as agent and lead arranger. The debt syndicate consists of The Great-West Life Assurance Company, Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada and Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec.

First Solar has completed construction of the power plants – Amherstburg (10 MW), Belmont (20 MW) and Walpole (20 MW) – and has commissioned them so they are providing power to the grid. First Solar will provide operations and maintenance services under long-term contracts. Output of the power plants will be sold to Ontario Power Authority under its Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program, with 20-year power purchase agreements.

‘First Solar is proud to contribute to Ontario's renewable energy objectives,’ says Tim Rebhorn, First Solar's senior vice president of business development for the Americas. ‘In addition to providing clean electricity the projects have provided meaningful employment and local economic benefits, as well as contribute to the safe and efficient operation of the local utility system.’

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