New GE, BlackRock Solar Venture Secures $250M


Distributed Solar Development (DSD), a recently launched business backed by BlackRock Real Assets’ Global Renewable Power platform and GE Renewable Energy, has closed a $250 million fund financed by Morgan Stanley, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Fifth Third Bank.

The financing will fund a portfolio of distributed generation projects through 2020.

“This transaction positions DSD for significant growth over the next year as we work to meet growing demand from commercial and industrial clients for clean, renewable energy,” says Erik Schiemann, CEO of DSD. “Our ability to partner with some of the world’s leading financial institutions underscores the importance of alternative energy as a business driver and as a force for environmental responsibility.”

“We are proud to partner with DSD, BlackRock Real Assets and GE Renewable Energy on the financing of this solar portfolio,” adds Jorge Iragorri, managing director at Morgan Stanley. “We are excited to support our clients and continue growing renewable energy across the U.S.”

SVB, a longtime backer of cleantech and energy companies, has a quickly growing project finance business dedicated to the energy and resource innovation space. As of the end of the first half of 2019, the team had committed more than $1.3 billion to renewable energy projects, with an emphasis on distributed solar generation.

“SVB is excited to partner with DSD as the coordinating lead arranger for their inaugural distributed portfolio financing. We expect this transaction to provide the blueprint for multiple additional financings as DSD rapidly scales its business,” comments Kerri L. Fox, market manager and managing director of SVP for project finance.

Fifth Third Bank’s participation reflects its commitment to sustainability. The bank recently achieved 100% renewable power with the opening of the Aulander Holloman Solar Facility in North Carolina. It also recently added a group dedicated to providing M&A and capital markets advisory services for the renewable energy industry.

“Participating in this transaction with DSD aligns with our strategic objectives and extends our commitment to renewable energy by making it more available to the market as a whole,” says Eric Cohen, vice president and group head of renewable energy finance at Fifth Third Bank.

This fund was raised after DSD’s recent announcement of its partnership with BlackRock Real Assets and GE Renewable Energy. In July, the partners announced the new joint venture, 80% owned by BlackRock and 20% by GE. The new business had been incubated in GE since 2012, operating under the name GE Solar. The venture is focusing on solar and storage solutions for the commercial, industrial and public sectors.

“The willingness of some of the largest financial services brands in the world to partner with us speaks volumes about our go-forward strategy,” adds Jamie Hutson, vice president of structured finance at DSD. “It is an endorsement of our vision for making distributed solar energy more widely available. We look forward to building this relationship and pursuing our objectives.”

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