SunEdison is moving beyond solar. Beyond even the wind market that it just entered recently. It now plans to be a hydropower plant owner, too.
The Missouri company on Thursday said it’s agreed to buy 757 megawatts of renewable energy projects from seven companies that include hydropower plants in Brazil and Peru. SunEdison plans to pay $1.4 billion for five of the seven pending acquisitions, according to its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The types and locations of the projects reflect the company’s focus on gaining a foothold in emerging markets and owning a greater variety of renewable energy projects. SunEdison is building a solar panel factory in India and recently hired Cathy Zoi, a former partner at private equity firm, Silver Lake Kratwerk, and assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy, to head its rural electrification effort. I caught up with SunEdison’s CEO, Ahmad Chatilla, last October to learn about the company’s gigawatt ambition in China.
“The majority of growth of electric power will come from emerging markets,” said Chatilla during an earnings call on Thursday.
SunEdison’s move into wind and hydropower sets it apart from some of its chief rivals in the solar business. It completed the $2.4 billion purchase of First Wind in January. Last month, its subsidiary, TerraForm Global, agreed to buy 47 megawatts of renewable energy projects in South Africa for $84 million.
The move into Brazil happens at a time when the country’s dismal rainfall is hitting its hydropower plant owners hard. That presents an opportunity for SunEdison to snap up hydropower plants at good prices, company executives said. The company has spent years cultivating a relationship with Renova, a major renewable energy company in Brazil, Chatilla said. The result is the deal for Renova to sell 18 wind and hydropower plants totaling 336 megawatts, as well as some projects under development, to SunEdison for $515 million. SunEdison also signed a letter of intent to buy a 16% stake in Renova.