Conergy looking to buy Ontario solar projects

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The Canadian subsidiary of Conergy is on the lookout for developed solar projects in Ontario.

Conergy’s interest in completed PV installations in the province follows the successful conclusion of a pilot project. The company acquired a 358 kW rooftop project on a warehouse in the city of Kingston from EDF EN Canada Inc., a unit of European utility Electricité de France SA. Conergy installed the system in June and sold it to a private investor from the United States in September, demonstrating that value could be retained in the asset.

With the Ontario government forecasting 2.1 GWp in new solar capacity in the next six years, the new capital will be a boost for local developers and owners of commercial real estate, the company stresses.

Backed by its majority owner, Miami-based asset management firm Kawa Capital Management, Conergy is now seeking to buy individual projects and portfolios of between 100 kW and 15 MW in size, on roofs and open land, at all stages of development.

"The EDF project may be small in terms of kilowatts, but shows the way forward for the Ontario market," said Jared Donald, president of Conergy North America. "We are going to see huge amounts of capital arriving in the province, and the market will explode in the near-term. With a strong balance sheet, Conergy is ideally positioned to help developers to reach their goals through our new acquisition and investment vehicle."

The Kingston pilot involved a warehouse owned by Toronto-based facilities manager Robinson Solutions that is leased to the federal prisons service, the Correctional Service of Canada, for storage and distribution across the country. Robinson Solutions benefits from a lease payment for the use of the square footage of rooftop.

The new owner of the solar system earns payments from the Ontario Power Authority’s (OPA) FIT scheme, which pays money to owners of renewable energy systems for clean electricity sold to the grid for a period of more than 20 years. A typical mid-sized solar system in Ontario can earn annual revenues of up to CDN $150,000, depending on the design, location and other factors, according to Conergy.

As of 2013, 1.2 GWp of grid-connected solar has been installed in Ontario, Canada’s largest market for solar PV projects and the first province or state in North America to offer a FIT program, which began in 2006.

The OPA will offer 100 MW of new FIT contracts in the coming weeks and plans to procure more next year. A new process for large scale projects is also under development.

Conergy announced this week the sales of its its Canadian distribution business to Ontario-based HES PV and its U.S. solar distribution division to leading solar distributor Soligent.