BlackRock buys GE’s North American solar business

The New York-based firm is currently raising its third renewables vehicle after closing on $1.65bn for its second in 2017.

BlackRock Real Assets has acquired a North American solar and energy storage business that was launched in 2012 as a subsidiary of General Electric.

The New York-based private equity firm did not disclose financial terms for its 80 percent acquisition of Distributed Solar Development, which was previously known as GE Solar. GE’s renewables division will maintain a 20 percent interest, according to a statement from BlackRock.

A spokesman for BlackRock declined to comment for this story.

The firm is known to be raising its third renewables-focused fund and is targeting $2.5 billion. BlackRock is also raising a $3.5 billion infrastructure fund that will focus on the power and energy sectors.

The DSD acquisition adds to BlackRock’s global renewables platform. The firm manages a portfolio comprising more than 5.2GW of generating capacity in which it has invested more than $5 billion. DSD focuses on solar and energy storage solutions for the commercial, industrial and public sectors, and has developed more than 125 projects.

“All we’ve accomplished as a small team to date has been working toward this moment,” DSD chief executive Erik Schiemann said in the statement. “I’m excited about what this transaction means for the next phase of our growth.”

In January, BlackRock appointed David Giordano as global head of its renewables business. Giordano has managed renewables investments for the firm since 2011. The firm closed its second renewables fund – BlackRock Global Renewable Power Fund II – in July 2017 on $1.65 billion. The fundraise surpassed its $1 billion target after drawing 67 commitments from institutional investors in North America, Europe and Asia.