On Wednesday, Altus Power America, a Greenwich, Connecticut-based clean electrification company that serves commercial, municipal, utility and residential customers, announced that it has acquired 100MW of distributed solar assets in the U.S. states of California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, new York and Vermont. The transaction, which was financed with support from private equity giant Blackstone, makes Altus Power one of the five largest providers of distributed and community solar electricity in the U.S.
Founded in 2009, Altus today serves more than 300 private and public entities, and around 5,000 residential customers in 16 states nationwide, with output from more than 260 MW of distributed solar power, as well as a strong pipeline of solar and storage development projects. The clean electricity that it provides to its customers is equivalent to the consumption of 30,000 homes, displacing 240,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year.
“We are incredibly excited about the tremendous growth that Altus has experienced since partnering with Blackstone. Blackstone’s full capital structure solution has proven to be a true competitive advantage as we approach this rapidly growing market,” Altus Power Managing Partner Gregg Felton said in an official statement on Wednesday.
Financing for Altus’s acquisition was secured with support from Blackstone Credit, one of the world’s largest credit-oriented alternative asset managers, with approximately $135 billion in total assets under management, invested across loans, high yield and investment grade bonds, structured credit, mezzanine lending and rescue financing.
Earlier this fall, Blackstone announced that funds managed under its private credit hedge fund, GSO Capital Partners, had formed a new company, ClearGen, to provide capital to clean energy storage providers, investing alongside equipment makers, developers and energy service providers of distributed infrastructure assets. The company was launched with $250 million in startup funds to ClearGen
“We are thrilled to grow our partnership with Altus and their premier management team, and the acquisitions highlight their leadership in the distributed solar and battery markets. Our investment will enable Altus to continue to meet growing demand for low cost, renewable energy in North America and generate compelling risk-adjusted returns for our investors,” said Rob Camacho, Co-Head of Structured Products at Blackstone Credit, and Rob Horn, Co-Head of Energy at Blackstone Credit.
The Blackstone-backed deal marks a flurry of fall acquisitions for fast-growing Altus Power. In November, Altus completed the acquisition of a 2.5MW operating solar project in Vermont. The Vermont project generates some 3 million KWh of electricity each year, which is in turn sold to VEPP, Inc, a not-for-profit Vermont Corporation that administers two of Vermont’s Renewable Energy Programs under contract with the Vermont Public Utility Commission.
In October, Altus made its second major investment in sunny Hawaii, a greenfield solar project for which Altus Power partnered with developer Environmental Chemical Corporation (ECC) and engineering contractor REC Solar Commercial Corporation to build a 7.5 MW ground-mounted solar system in Ewa.
Altus Power’s latest Hawaiian project, a utility-scale solar site that is now home to 21,500 solar PV modules across multiple raised rows of solar panels—will generate over 12,400 megawatt hours of electricity in its first year of operation. Its output will be purchased by the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), pursuant to a Public Utilities Commission (PUC)-approved Feed-In Tariff Tier III Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
The project will further reduce the state’s carbon footprint and contribute to Hawaii’s goal of generating 100 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2045. The system’s annual production is equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions from 1,726 passenger vehicles driven for a year, or CO2 emissions from burning nearly 9 million pounds of coal.
Hawaii’s Governor David Ige, on hand for the dedication of the solar site, had warm words for Altus Power’s investment in Hawaii.
“The reason the project is important is because [Altus Power] invested in the infrastructure in the area,” Ige said. “The fact that they made an investment to get connected to the grid really enables other redevelopment in this area…We’re beginning to see an acceleration. Converting earlier is a win-win. It not only helps the environment, but it also helps to reduce costs.”