CleanCapital announced the acquisition of a 65.3-MW portfolio of solar assets spanning 12 states this week — another sizeable deal that 1) cements its place among the top 10 mid-market solar owners and 2) is indicative of a larger trend toward consolidation in the space.
“CleanCapital’s recent acquisition is substantial for the commercial solar market,” noted Michelle Davis, Principal Analyst at Wood Mackenzie. “In this relatively fragmented segment of the industry, only a handful of commercial solar asset owners have total portfolios over 100 MW. With this acquisition, CleanCapital maintains its position as one of the top ten commercial solar asset owners in the U.S.”
According to Wood Mackenzie, the annual market share of the top commercial solar asset owners has increased from 26% in 2019 to 34% in 2021 through Q3. “In general, the commercial solar industry—including community solar—is slowly consolidating,” Davis remarks. “We would expect this trend to continue as sophisticated long-term asset owners continue to build and expand their financing platforms.”
This CleanCapital acquisition comprises 39 projects and 91 total sites ranging from 0.2 MW to 6.5 MW in size. The portfolio includes a number of projects providing solar energy to schools, including 20 carport assets serving California’s Stockton Unified School District and 16 sites serving the Hawaii Department of Education. The portfolio also includes 11.5 MW of Minnesota community solar projects with various C&I off-takers.
“Middle market solar is becoming ever more sophisticated and competitive,” said Thomas Byrne, CEO of CleanCapital. “This significant acquisition is just one more sign that the segment is consolidating; as it does, CleanCapital’s expertise and track record make us well-positioned to emerge as one of the leaders in this space.”
BR Group Holdings, the seller in this week’s transaction, plans to continue its commitment to the distributed solar space as a passive tax equity investor, leveraging its decade-plus long expertise as a developer, operator, and owner to continue to efficiently provide capital to the industry.
“We are proud of the diverse solar portfolio we developed and are excited to have CleanCapital as the acquirer and long-term owner of these assets,” said Clay Biddinger, Chairman of BR Group Holdings, LLC. “The CleanCapital team carried out an impressively streamlined and efficient process that gives developers greater optimism about accelerating solar deployment going forward.”
This acquisition is the sixth in a series of investments made since CleanCapital announced a $300 million commitment from Manulife in April 2021. The company has successfully acquired and managed 200 projects in 24 states totaling more than 300 MW. Its cumulative acquisitions total more than $800 million.
CleanCapital engaged Orrick as Buyer’s counsel on this transaction. BR Group Holdings, LLC was represented by Barnes & Thornburg.