Enel sells 80% of 1 GW large-scale solar in Mexico

The Italian energy company Enel has announced it has sold an 80% stake in 1.7 GW of operational renewable energy power projects or currently under construction in Mexico to Canadian institutional investor Caisse de dépot et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Mexican pension funds CKD Infraestructura México S.A. de C.V. (CKD IM).

The transaction includes 1 GW of PV projects, which is comprised of the Villanueva I (427 MW), Villanueva III (327 MW) and Don José (238 MW) solar plants. As for the two Villanueva projects, where construction began in late March, Santiago Barcón, a columnist for Energía Hoy and an advisor to Mexico’s Energy Regulatory Commission, told pv magazine in early August that Enel had already put the project up for sale and is listening for offers.

Enel said the portfolio, owned by special purpose vehicles of its local subsidiary Enel Green Power México S.r.l. de C.V, consists of 429 MW of operational power plants and 1,283 MW under construction.

The $1.35 billion transaction is being implemented through the sale of 80% of a newly formed Mexican holding company, which will own the special purposes vehicles, for $340 million and through a $1.01 billion financing granted to the vehicles by CDPQ-CKD.

“The new model”, said Enel Green Power’s head Antonio Cammisecra, “represents an opportunity for partners willing to invest in a large and diversified portfolio of projects in strategic areas, supported by long-term power purchase agreements, with the plants developed, built and operated by Enel Green Power. This strategy enables us to further exploit our global pipeline of solar and wind projects to gain access to additional resources, accelerating our growth.”

Enel said that the transaction is expected to be finalized by the end of this year.

The 754 MW Villanueva project is located in the Mexican state of Coahuila and is part of the 1 GW capacity that Enel won in Mexico’s first energy auction, which was held in 2016. In the energy auction held last year, Enel also won a contract for the 238 MW Don José solar project in Guanajuato, which is also part of the transaction and where construction started in April. For this project the company secured a 15-year PPA and a 20-year clean energy certificate sales contract.