Clearway Energy Group, a company formed out of the sale of NRG Energy to Global Infrastructure Partners and now one of the largest clean energy companies in the United States, last week acquired the 4.7 gigawatt (GW) utility-scale solar development pipeline from SunPower.
Clearway Energy Group began operations on August 31 as an independent enterprise, formed out of the sale of NRG Energy’s renewables platform and NRG’s controlling interest in NRG Yield to Global Infrastructure Partners, a transaction initially announced in February of 2018. According to the company’s inaugural press release, “The company is comprised of the workforce and capabilities from NRG’s industry-leading renewable energy development and operational platform” and will focus on wind, utility-scale solar, community solar, and distributed solar projects. NRG Yield will remain affiliated and has changed its name to Clearway Energy.
“From homeowners to world-class businesses, and the utilities that service them, today’s energy consumers are increasingly looking for clean energy that’s reliable and affordable,” said Craig Cornelius, Clearway Energy Group’s Chief Executive Officer. “Clearway was built from the ground up for these customers. We have the scale, the capacity and the infrastructure it takes to provide the energy they need from day one.”
“We are excited to close the acquisition of NRG’s integrated renewables platform, which includes the controlling interest in Clearway Energy, Inc. as well as a highly capable renewable development and operating platform,” added Jonathan Bram, Founding Partner of GIP and Chairman of the Boards of both Clearway Energy Group and Clearway Energy. “With strong alignment and excellent management across the business, we believe Clearway is well-positioned for long-term growth and success.”
Announced alongside the company’s official commencement was an agreement to acquire approximately 4.7 GW worth of utility-scale solar projects spanning 16 states in the developmental pipeline of American solar manufacturer SunPower. The acquisition of the majority of the developmental pipeline was closed at the end of August, with the unnumbered remainder of the portfolio set to be closed in the coming months.
The move is likely a first step for SunPower which had already announced it was looking to exit the utility-scale project development business. Tom Werner, SunPower CEO and chairman of the board, explained the decision in the company’s second-quarter earnings report:
“We expect to transition to our new upstream and downstream segmentation by the first quarter of 2019. This decision will allow us to focus our downstream efforts on the higher-margin U.S. DG business while growing global sales of our upstream solar panel business through our SunPower Solutions group. Also, this structure will provide the resources to invest in those areas that offer the highest differentiation and growth potential including our industry-leading NGT cell and panel technology, solar-plus-storage solutions, as well as expanding our grid-services offerings.”