One of the major trends in the last few years in the pv industry has been a steady move downstream. A number of the world’s largest PV module makers followed the lead of Canadian Solar and First Solar and got into PV project development.
The next step was to actually own the projects being built. This time SunEdison led the solar industry, by holding more and more projects, which it put into a yieldco vehicle. This model has spread rapidly, with more and more developers and module makers forming yieldcos and/or holding more assets.
Today global PV developer Conergy announced that it too will begin owning the PV projects which it has built and selling the electricity that they generate. This will start with five utility-scale PV projects in North Carolina which total 28 MW. Conergy completed these projects earlier this month, and will sell the electricity generated to utility Duke Energy under a 15-year power purchase agreement.
Along with this change, Conergy has appointed a new leadership team for the Americas. Solar industry veteran and former Head of Global Marketing and PR Yann Brandt will take over as regional head of the Americas, a role which includes activities over both continents.
Having the right pipeline with projects that have a great cash flow profile enables Conergy to increase its shareholder value even further by entering into asset ownership, Brandt told pv magazine. The US market is a well understood financial product by investors and Conergy makes for a great bankable partner.
The company will build on its experience of having built over 1 GW of solar and contracting to provide operations and maintenance for over 500 GW of completed plants, with a presence in multiple continents. In a press release, Conergy says that it is moving to become an IPP in the Americas.
Owning assets is another tool for our team to enable this goal and if Conergy sees the value in holding an asset outside of the US, we may choose to do so, explains Brandt.
Unlike other PV companies, Conergy has no plans to form a yieldco. "Conergy does not require a secondary vehicle to hold assets," states Brandt. "As a private company, Conergy can be the sponsor of the projects and hold the cash flows for internal use."
Joining Brandt, David Munsky and Michael Cocchimiglio will serve as co-heads of rooftop and ground-mounted solar development in the Americas. Conergy notes that this move follows winning 60 MW of PV projects in Brazil’s recent auction, as well as increasing its bank guarantee facility to US$75 million.