NRG acquires Solar Power Partners to enter distributed generation market

NRG acquires Solar Power Partners to enter distributed generation marketBanking on the future of distributed generation projects, NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG) has purchased Solar Power Partners, a developer of commercial solar projects. NRG subsidiary NRG Solar is developing some of the world’s largest solar projects, like the 392-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System and it has a solar pipeline of more than 2,000 megawatts.

Solar Power Partners, which develops and operates projects through power-purchase agreements, has completed nearly 50 commercial installations, and has an active 30-megawatt project pipeline, including projects already completed and those currently under way. NRG will assume ownership of those and Solar Power’s future project pipeline.

NRG is anticipating a trend toward smaller distributed projects.

“This acquisition will place NRG at the head of the pack as the solar industry moves toward smaller solar projects that connect directly to the grid," said NRG President Tom Doyle in a press release.

The developer has projects in California, Hawaii, Arizona, Connecticut, New Mexico, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ontario and Puerto Rico, according to NRG. Its pipeline includes projects at airports, grocery stores, hospitals, municipal buildings, office buildings, schools and universities.

“We believe distributed and residential rooftop solar will drive growth for the solar industry, and through our investments in this market—such as Solar Power Partners and Project AMP—NRG is positioned to lead that transformation,” said NRG spokesperson Lori Neuman.

Project AMP is a four-year project of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, NRG Energy and Prologis to install 733 megawatts of solar on Prologis warehouses and industrial buildings across the U.S.

NRG has already dipped its toes in distributed generation projects, according to Neuman.

“We’ve also done distributed solar at some Arizona schools and at the Redskins’ FedEx Field,” she said.

It’s installed 12 solar pavilions near Phoenix and a 2-megawatt installation using multiple forms of solar at FedEx Field.

“This is the first time we actually will have our own distributed generation development company,” Neuman said.

Having it will give the company more flexibility in terms of the projects it chooses to develop and the size of such projects.

Image courtesy of Solar Power Partners.