Canadian Solar in 1.14GW Australian solar boost

The Canadian solar developer is investing Down Under for a bigger play in a development-stage portfolio, after selling three construction-stage projects to Foresight early this month.

Canadian Solar has teamed up with Amsterdam-headquartered solar power company Photon Energy to co-develop five utility-scale solar projects with a total capacity of 1.14GW in New South Wales, Australia.

The Ontario-based solar developer will acquire a 51 percent stake in each of Photon Energy’s five project companies. The portfolio includes the 316MW Gunning solar project, which is fully owned by Photon Energy, as well as four projects co-developed with Polpo Investment, comprising a 178MW project in Mumbil, a 165MW in Gunnedah, a 286MW one in Suntop and a 196MW plant in Marvale.

Transaction details were not disclosed and Canadian Solar had not responded to queries at the time of publication.

“As a very active developer for solar power plants in Australia, we will continue to strengthen our leading position in the market by partnering with Photon Energy,” said Shawn Qu, chairman and chief executive of Canadian Solar.

Early this month, the Canadian developer sold its interests in three construction-stage projects with a combined capacity of 117MW in Queensland to the UK’s Foresight Group for around A$74 million ($60 million; €48.2 million).

Prior to the sale, the three Queensland projects accounted for Canadian Solar’s late-stage, utility-scale solar project pipeline in Australia, according to a November investor presentation. Globally, it had a 12GW development pipeline, 10.4GW of which was in the early to mid-stage of development.

The NASDAQ-listed Canadian Solar is currently considering a “take-private” proposal from Qu, the company’s largest shareholder, valuing it at $1.07 billion. He and his wife Hanbing Zhang own a combined 23.5 percent of Canadian Solar.