The seller, US-based First Solar, will continue to develop the facilities under the deal, and will provide engineering, procurement and construction services and operations and maintenance services under long-term contracts.
In acquiring the three solar farms at Amherstburg (10 MW), Belmont (20 MW) and Walpole (20 MW) in Canada, Plutonic Power is expanding for the first time into the Ontario solar market.
The investment is also GE’s first solar venture in Canada.
“These projects will significantly expand Ontario's supply of clean, affordable, sustainable solar energy," said Frank De Rosa, First Solar senior vice president of project development for North America. "We’re pleased to be working with Plutonic and GE Energy Financial Services to realize these development projects."
Plutonic and GE already jointly own the Dokie (Canada) wind project, one of only two wind farms currently operating in the province of British Columbia. The two companies also operate the East Toba River and Montrose Creek hydroelectric project, the largest independent hydroelectric facility in western Canada.
The two projects have a combined capacity of 340 MW and have secured long-term Energy Purchase Agreements with BC Hydro.
“Expanding into both a new market and a new technology represents significant growth for Plutonic,” said Donald McInnes, Vice-Chairman and CEO of Plutonic Power. “Our solid relationship with GE Energy Financial Services enabled this expansion into our third joint near-term operating asset.”
Under the current deal, GE will hold a 90 percent stake in the projects, while Plutonic Power will hold a 10 percent stake.
Construction of the three solar facilities is expected to begin by mid-2011, pending permitting. Power from the facilities will be sold to the Ontario Power Authority under 20-year energy purchase agreements.
Combined, the facilities are expected to produce enough electricity to power approximately 6,300 local homes and avoid 14,600 tons of carbon dioxide a year ¬¬-- the equivalent of taking 3,700 cars off the road.
“This transaction is GE Energy Financial Services' first solar investment in Canada, broadening our $6 billion renewable energy portfolio and supporting our strong partnership with Plutonic,” said Mark Tonner, Managing Director and Canada business leader at GE Energy Financial Services.
“We see significant growth potential for solar power worldwide, which continues to improve on technology costs and efficiencies, and helps balance wind-generated power, which peaks at different times,” he said.
Last month, GE Energy Financial Services announced it had reached its multi-year target of investing $6 billion in renewable energy projects, which today span 14 countries and include investments in wind farms, solar installations, hydroelectric projects, landfill gas facilities and projects involving other technologies across a wide spectrum of capital--from project equity to debt and venture capital.
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