Raise money, or sell your assets. Those are the options many solar companies are facing these days as looming oversupply and the global economic crisis threaten to shake out the sector. Today, solar service provider SunEdison said it managed to close a $20 million deal with Union Bank last month to finance to two projects. SunEdison announced today that the deal helped finance a 1.7 MW photovoltaic farm in Rifle, Colo., (concept plan shown below) and a second 1.1 MW project. SunEdison has already completed both projects, according to spokesperson Rob Wyse.
The financing announced today comes on a much smaller scale than SunEdison’s previous deals: The company raised $161 million last spring for operational costs and won contracts for PV farms on the scale of tens-of-megawatts. Union Bank helped finance an 8.2 MW photovoltaic system in Alamosa, Colo. project in 2007. Of course, the economic climate has changed since then. Financing for large-scale solar projects is harder to come by today than even last year, when SunEdison began raising this latest round.
As a result, we may see more companies taking the consolidation route. Lux Research forecast last fall that solar’s weakest players would fail or be acquired in 2009. Earlier this month, solar installer groSolar acquired the residential business of Borrego Solar Systems. Yesterday, Spain-based solar developer Fotowatio announced that it will buy most of the assets of San Francisco’s MMA Renewables, and Optisolar hawked its project pipeline to First Solar (s FSLR).
Graphic courtesy Rifle, CO Official Website — Long-Range Planning