SunEdison Inc. is selling three of its major solar energy farms in Hawaii that are worth $350 million to a group that includes D.E. Shaw Group, Madison Dearborn Capital Partners IV LP and Northwestern University as part of a larger effort to get rid of $336 million of its debt, a spokeswoman for SunEdison’s Hawaii office confirmed to PBN this week.
SunEdison, with headquarters in Missouri and California, is one of the largest renewable energy companies in the United States, entered into a purchase and sale agreement in late December in which the buyers have agreed to purchase three utility-scale solar projects, including the 47-megawatt Waipio Solar, the 15-megawatt Mililani Solar and 50-megawatt Kawailoa Solar projects.
Crystal Kua, spokeswoman for SunEdison’s Hawaii office, told PBN that while the sale of projects has always been a financing option, the Hawaii sale is part of a larger transaction intended to extinguish $336 million of debt. No value of the three Hawaii projects was immediately available.
Financing is expected to be completed for Waipio and Mililani by March 1 and Kawailoa by April 1, while the sale is expected to close by Jan. 3, 2017, she said.
“This transaction allows us to continue to develop high-quality energy projects in Hawaii and ensures that the solar projects will be built and will deliver clean energy to Oahu residents and businesses,” Kua said. “We remain committed to developing high-quality renewable projects in Hawaii.”
SunEdison, which acquired Boston-based First Wind, including its energy holdings in Hawaii, has two other major solar farms on Oahu. Unlike the other three that are being sold, these two projects have yet to be approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.
Construction on the three approved solar farms are expected to start later this year. A federal tax credit for these types of projects was recently extended, giving these projects more time to take advantage of such credits.
A few months ago, SunEdison said it would cut 15 percent of its workforce in a move to position itself for long-term growth. The company, which currently has about 7,300 employees, has about 35 employees in Hawaii.