DIF makes mark in N American renewables

The Dutch infra fund manager is acquiring four utility-scale solar power plants from Canadian Solar Solutions, its first renewable energy investment in the continent.

DIF Infrastructure, a Dutch fund manager that invests in infrastructure assets, is acquiring four 10-megawatt (MW) solar power plants from Canadian Solar Solutions, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar, the fund manager said in a statement. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.

The four plants, which will be located in the Canadian province of Ontario, are expected to start construction in 2013 and 2014 and are due to begin commercial operation in 2014, the solar power company said in a separate statement.

The two companies have partnered in the past on projects in Europe, but this transaction marks DIF’s first investment in the North American renewables market.

“This investment is consistent with DIF’s strategy to invest in quality assets that will provide stable cash flows to its investors, with proven technology suppliers, such as Canadian Solar,” said Paul Huebener, head of DIF in Canada. “Having worked with Canadian Solar in Europe, this transaction highlights the benefits of working with international groups across different countries,” he added.

Canadian Solar will provide turnkey engineering, procurement and construction services to build the projects and will provide operations and maintenance services after completion, according to the statement.

“The agreement is subject to usual closing conditions, including the completion of financing for the construction of each solar plant which is being arranged with the participation of leading international banks,” Canadian Solar said in its statement.

To date, DIF through its four managed funds which total €1.6 billion, has invested in over 160MW of solar photovoltaic projects in Europe. The firm, which focuses on infrastructure assets, invests in public-private partnerships, renewable energy projects and other core infrastructure projects in Europe and North America. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the firm also has offices in Frankfurt, London, Paris, Luxembourg, and Toronto.

Founded in 2001, Canadian Solar is a vertically-integrated provider of solar modules, specialised solar products and solar power plants with operations in the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, and Asia.