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Actis buys 1.5GW LatAm solar, launches new platform

The emerging markets firm says it will spend $525m in future commitments on the Chile-based unit after acquiring the assets from defunct developer SunEdison.

Emerging markets specialist Actis has bought a portfolio of solar projects in Latin America with a combined capacity of 1.5GW from bankrupt US developer SunEdison.

Establishing a new platform for the acquisition – Atlas Renewable Energy – Actis has agreed a deal which includes 578MW of operational assets and projects at the stage of construction or advanced development. A further 1GW is said to be in the early stages of project development.

Actis said the new vehicle will require $525 million in future commitments as the firm seeks to grow Atlas across target markets such as Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay from its base in Chile. The asset manager declined to state the purchase price of SunEdison’s assets themselves.

Michael Harrington, a partner in Actis’ energy division, said the creation of the platform was an example of the region’s “continued robust potential for renewable energy growth”. Atlas will be led by Carlos Barrera, previously the managing director of SunEdison’s Latin American division, a position he had held since 2014 after joining the developer in 2011. Barrera’s former posts also include developing BP’s solar and carbon capture businesses.

The deal represents the latest sale of assets by SunEdison following its bankruptcy in April last year. Notable deals have included US utility NRG’s $183 million acquisition of 1.5GW from the developer’s US-based wind and solar portfolio, while SunEdison’s yieldco TerraForm Power sold a 365MW solar portfolio in the UK for £470 million ($582.5 million; €549.3 million). Brookfield Asset Management is currently in talks regarding a potential $2.46 billion buyout of TerraForm Power and TerraForm Global.

The creation of Atlas is Actis’ fifth power generation platform in the region, after investments including Mexican wind company Zuma Energia and Brazilian developer Atlantic Energias Renovaveis. A deal to sell one of its other Latin American vehicles – Globeleq Mesoamerica Energy – to SunEdison fell through after the company’s bankruptcy. GME was instead divested to Corporacion Multi Inversiones at the end of last year.