KKR partners with Acciona to grow renewable energy asset portfolio

Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co. (KKR) has announced financial close on the acquisition of a 1/3 stake in Acciona Energía Internacional (AEI), for the sum of €397 million (US$500 million).

AEI currently holds 2.3 GW of renewable energy assets in 14 nations outside Spain. This is mostly wind, but includes "small number" of CSP and PV plants. Acciona Energía also has a 3 GW pipeline of projects, which AEI will have right of first offer on and the company says can be “accelerated” through the partnership. In this pipeline are 150 MW of PV projects in Chile, however GTM Research says that none of these have reached the later stages of development.

Through this investment, Acciona calculates that AEI has reached an implied enterprise value of $3.3 billion, including around $1.6 billion in equity and around $1.6 billion in net debt.

Under the deal AEI will operate the completed plants for the next 20 years in exchange for an annual fee. Additionally, the two companies plan to launch a yieldco vehicle to own some of these assets, but have not specified a date and KKR did not respond to PV Magazine requests for comment by press time.

While KKR has acquired shares in a number of renewable energy projects, including portfolios of U.S. PV projects built by Recurrent Energy, this is a new level of involvement for the company.

“From the U.S.-specific lens, KKR is one of the players that has been an unconventional entrant into acquiring and owning solar assets long-term,” notes GTM Research Solar Analyst Cory Honeyman. “This is transitioning KKR from being a passive, one-off buyer of renewable energy projects, to a more active development stake.”

“There are a select number of private equity firms that have really scaled up their investment in solar. KKR is definitely one of the most visible companies out there.”