Canadian Solar secures financing for 40 MW solar portfolio

Just days after the news broke that Canadian Solar would no longer be exempt from punitive trade duties, the company has secured $53 million in project financing from Investec for four solar projects in England.

The projects, totaling 40.2 MW, came into operation this March. They represented Canadian Solar’s entry into the U.K. market. It is also working on another two solar projects in England, worth 5.5 MW. They are scheduled to be online in the second quarter of this year.

Commenting on the news, Shawn Qu, chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar, said, "The UK market is an important component of our strategy to build and own solar power plants that we plan to drop into a YieldCo vehicle in the months ahead. Our goal is to continue investing in the UK and we look forward to continue working with Investec to support our growth."

On the back of its acquisition of developer Recurrent Energy from Sharp, the signs were that Canadian Solar was fast moving towards launching a solar yieldco for its downstream projects. Last August, meanwhile, the company reported that it was contemplating a yieldco vehicle, and said it would make a decision early this year.

"If we decided to launch a yieldco, clearly we have a strong Japanese pipeline," noted Canadian Solar CFO Michael Potter at the time. "Therefore we will analyze the different strategies: a country-specific yieldco, or a global yieldco."

Shipping records

Last week, pv magazine reported that Canadian Solar is working hard to take the global PV module shipment crown from Trina this year. The company shipped well over 1 GW of modules in Q1 2015, and expects to back that up in Q2 with shipments between 950 MW and 1 GW.

"I think 2015 could be very interesting because as we look at the Q1 performance of the module manufacturers, in terms of shipments Canadian Solar is the top supply in Q1 2015," IHS analyst Jessica Jin told pv magazine. "I don’t know whether Canadian Solar will surprise us by coming out number one in the rankings this year, but it did surprise us in Q1 2015."

On Friday, the EC ruled that Canadian Solar, along with ET Solar and ReneSola, has breached the PV module minimum price (MIP) agreement struck between the EU and China. They will now be subject to tariffs, if they continue to export to Europe. The decision took effect on Saturday, May 10. Responding to the news, the Chinese solar manufacturer maintained it "duly complied with all its terms and conditions."

Speaking to pv magazine prior to the announcement, IHS’ Jin said that Canadian Solar’s 500 MW production facility in Canada is helping the company to serve both U.S. and European markets tariff free. A spokesperson for Canadian Solar confirmed this to pv magazine today, adding that the "EU’s decision will not influence our business in Europe and Global."