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Oaktree Capital invests in solar tracking

The US asset manager has backed Array Technologies, a company that helps energy producers change the angle of solar panels throughout the day.

Oaktree Capital, the Californian alternative assets manager, has made an investment in a New Mexico-based manufacturer of solar tracking devices.

Oaktree invested an undisclosed amount in Array Technologies through its Power Opportunities group, a private equity investment platform that focuses on equipment, software and services that help increase the performance of businesses in the energy and power industries.

Solar tracking is a technology that is gaining popularity as a way for panels to make better use of the sun throughout the day. As the sun passes, solar trackers change the angle of panels, increasing daily production.

Array started providing solar tracking solutions 27 years ago. It has supplied tracking hardware for utility, commercial and residential solar projects generating over 5GW around the world, according to Oaktree.

Brad Forth, Oaktree senior advisor and newly appointed executive chairman at Array, said the investment is an opportunity for Oaktree to leverage its energy sector experience, network and financial resources to drive growth for Array domestically and overseas.

“As the market increasingly recognises the significant economic benefits of single-axis trackers, we anticipate that they will continue to gain market share from fixed-tilt systems for utility-scale applications,” he said. “Further, we believe the resulting reduction in the cost of PV-generated electricity will help stimulate continued growth in the deployment of utility-scale PV worldwide.”

Array’s chief executive, Ron Corio, added that partnering with Oaktree is an “exciting step forward” and a “strong vote of confidence” in their business providing solar tracking solutions.

Along with its investment in Array, SEC filings show Oaktree closed a $100 million private placement it announced in April for 3.69 percent senior notes due in 2031. Oaktree said the proceeds are intended to repay a portion of its $250 million term loan due in 2012.

In March, Oaktree launched its debut infrastructure fund, and in June, Oaktree and Partners Group invested $240 million of convertible preferred equity in NGL Energy Partners, a vertically integrated energy company based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.