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AES, AIMCo pay $853m for large-scale US solar developer

The pair have acquired sPower, a Fir Tree Partners subsidiary that has grown in recent years into the US's largest utility-scale solar builder.

AES Corporation and the Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) have agreed to pay $853 million for the purchase of the US's largest utility-scale solar operator.

The deal is an all-cash transaction with private equity firm Fir Tree Partners for the acquisition of sPower, formerly known as FTP Power LLC. As part of the deal, AES, a global clean energy provider, and AIMCo, a Canadian investment manager, will assume $724 million of non-recourse debt, and they will each have a slightly less than 50 percent stake in sPower.

With a 1,274MW clean energy portfolio, sPower is the largest owner and operator of utility-scale solar projects in the US. sPower's portfolio includes 150 operating projects across the US and in the UK. Its operating projects have power purchase agreements with an average lifespan of 21 years. sPower has a development pipeline of more than 10,000MW.

Still subject to regulatory approval, the transaction is expected to close by the third quarter of this year.

Through a subsidiary, Fir Tree acquired sPower in 2014 with the goal of expanding it to “compete at the high levels of the solar energy market”, a statement said at the time.

“sPower's innovation and significant commercial success in just three years is a testament to its outstanding management team and demonstrates that clean energy is a strong and profitable tool for driving economic growth,” Fir Tree founder Jeffrey Tanenbaum said about selling sPower.

Virginia-based AES, a Fortune 200 company, has pushed its ownership of renewable energy projects in operation or under construction to 9,552MW with this acquisition. The company operates clean energy assets in 17 countries and owns and manages $37 billion in assets.

AIMCo, headquartered in Alberta, Canada, is one of the country's largest institutional investment managers with more than $95 billion in assets under management.