DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
NRG Energy Inc. (NRG) said Monday that it has acquired solar-power developer Solar Power Partners and its pipeline of solar farms under development, further deepening NRG's involvement in the solar power market.
NRG, of Princeton, N.J., is one of the largest U.S. power plant operators, with fleets of coal, natural gas and nuclear power plants, and it also owns a power retail unit that serves customers in Texas, Illinois and the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region. The company has expanded over the last few years into solar power, and owns some of the largest solar farms in the U.S.
NRG's purchase of Solar Power Partners, which has built 30 megawatts of commercial-scale solar-power projects and has more projects under development, comes as NRG prepares to launch one of the most ambitious rooftop solar-power projects.
In September, NRG and Prologis Inc. (PLD) obtained a government loan guarantee to back $1.4 billion in loans to develop a commercial rooftop solar-panel project that the Department of Energy said would be the largest rooftop solar deployment in U.S. history. Bank of America Corp.'s (BAC) Merrill Lynch unit will supply the loans.
The loans and loan guarantee will cover roughly half of a four-year, $2.6 billion plan to install solar panels on rooftops of ProLogis warehouses in 28 states. Altogether, the systems are expected to generate about 752 megawatts, enough to serve about 88,000 homes, according to the Energy Department. NRG has started construction on the first installation, a 15-megawatt rooftop solar generator in southern California that will provide electricity to Edison International's (EIX) electric utility.
NRG has bought several solar farms at various stages of construction. Among them are a 290-megawatt solar farm that First Solar Inc. (FSLR) is building in Arizona and a 250-megawatt solar farm that SunPower Corp. (SPWR) is building in central California. Both projects received loan guarantees from the Energy Department that together total more than $2.2 billion.
-By Cassandra Sweet, Dow Jones Newswires; 415-439-6468; email@example.com
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