The seller was US solar specialist SunEdison and the buyers, in addition to First Reserve, include Crescent Capital – an energy-focused Turkish private equity firm backed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank – and Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power – a developer, owner and manager of power generation and water desalination plants across the Middle East and Africa.
In a statement, ACWA Power said it owns 42 percent of the acquiring consortium and noted the Bulgarian solar plant marks its first renewable energy investment.
First Reserve is no stranger to SunEdison, and the two companies share an operating partnership called SunEdison Reserve, formed in June 2010. It could not be established, however, if this is the First Reserve subsidiary that bought into the Bulgarian solar plant.
First Reserve owns 100 percent of the equity in SunEdison Reserve – a platform targeting investments in solar photovoltaic plants across Europe and North America. But the platform is a contractual joint venture with developer SunEdison, which provides First Reserve with access to new deals and operating services for the power plants.
The Bulgarian solar photovoltaic plant has been operational since March and was financed thanks to €155 million of non-recourse debt provided by the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and Unicredit. The plant is backed by a 20-year feed-in tariff and the off-taker is state-backed National Electricity Company of Bulgaria.
First Reserve’s energy and infrastructure fund is thought to have already invested some 60 percent of the $1.2 billion raised last year.