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ORIX targets US-distributed solar with IGS partnership

The subsidiary of Japan’s ORIX Corporation says the partnership may expand past the 13 projects currently in development.

A subsidiary of Japanese investment bank ORIX Corporation has established a development partnership with IGS Solar to build and own distributed solar projects for commercial and industrial customers throughout the US.

ORIX USA and IGS have agreed to develop 13 solar projects in seven states in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. Both companies are investing equity off their balance sheets to develop projects, avoiding complicated cash and tax equity structures that exist in the US solar market.

Barry Gold, managing director of the company’s infrastructure and renewable energy division, described a “synergistic” partnership with IGS, where neither company is the sole developer or financier. He said there are plans to expand the partnership past the 13 projects in development.

ORIX, which owns a utility-scale solar project in the US that generates between 15 and 20MW, is currently targeting the distributed market because of the impact larger projects may have on the grid, he explained.

“If the project is not balanced and integrated into the grid, there are more issues that could potentially arise,” he said.
Gold, who co-founded The Carlyle Group’s infrastructure fund, said the partnership with IGS is part of ORIX’s strategy to get involved in other aspects in the US renewables space, such as grid optimisation, asset management and energy storage.

“Our overall strategy is more than just owning renewables and other generation,” Gold said. “It’s also investments that allow all of the grid participants to work together to make it more technically and financially efficient.”