First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire NextLight Renewable Power, an owner and operator of utility-scale power plants in the southwestern United States, for $285 million in cash. NextLight was formed in 2008 by Energy Capital Partners in order to fill a market demand for clean, carbon-free, utility-scale renewable energy. The deal is expected to close by the end of the third quarter.
There have been 50 companies involved in PE transactions in the Solar, Wind and Geothermal Energy industries since the beginning of 2007, according to the PitchBook Platform. The pace of completed or announced deals in these industries has recently slowed. There were 23 deals in 2007 and 21 in 2008. However, there were only 12 deals in 2009 and 5 so far this year. The top investors are the U.S. Renewables Group with 10 deals and Riverstone Holdings with 5, followed by Hudson Clean Energy and ArcLight Capital Partners, both with 4 deals each.