Monday, April 27, 2009

Solar: Searching for Deeper Pockets

From Dow Jones Clean Technology Insight via the Wall Street Journal:
Amid tight credit and tough market conditions, clean-technology companies without large backers are looking to better-capitalized suitors. This trend became apparent in the solar-power industry over the past few weeks.

"There are a lot of thinly capitalized developers who are struggling to figure out how to develop projects," says Arno Harris, chief executive of Recurrent Energy Inc., who sees that weakness as a buying opportunity.

San Francisco-based Recurrent acquired the solar assets of UPC Energy Group, which will give it a pipeline containing as many as 350 megawatts of potential new projects, 100 megawatts of which Recurrent plans to develop by 2012. One megawatt of power can provide electricity to between 460 and 900 homes depending on the region. The price of the acquisition wasn't disclosed.

Recurrent has a standing financial commitment from Hudson Clean Energy Partners, a private-equity firm in Teaneck, N.J. Hudson already committed $75 million to Recurrent in July 2008.

Act Solar Inc., whose technology boosts the power output of strings of solar panels, turned to National Semiconductor Corp. after terms of venture-capital lending became too onerous.

"We did have very good interest from the venture-capital community," says Andrew Foss, CEO of the Santa Clara, Calif., firm. "But as valuations were shrinking, their term sheets were ever more biting." The price of the Act Solar acquisition wasn't disclosed....MORE