Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Irish Group Selling US Solar Energy Business

IRISH GROUP NTR is selling its generating facility in Imperial Valley, California to multi-national rival, AES.

NTR announced yesterday that Tessera, its US solar energy business, has agreed the sale of the Imperial Valley project to AES, but refused to reveal a sale price.

NTR is a majority shareholder in Tessera; the other investor is US-based Solar Pioneers. Imperial Valley is the company’s biggest project and will have the capacity to generate up to 709 mega watts (MW) of electricity, enough to supply power to around 700,000 homes.

Last year, NTR said it was delaying the development of its solar power projects as they would require an investment of €2 billion. The company said it would wait for the capital markets’ appetite for such investments to improve before it went ahead.

It wrote down €96 million of the total value of its solar energy division as a result, a move that contributed to a loss of €210 million in its last financial year, which ended on March 31st.

Tessera will continue to own other projects, the biggest of which is another California-based facility, Maricopa. NTR also owns a developer and manufacturer of solar power cells and technology, Stirling Energy Systems.

NTR originally developed toll roads in Ireland, but now owns renewable energy and waste management businesses in Ireland and the US.

The Roche family and the Philip Lynch-led investment vehicle, One51, hold about 70 per cent of the shares. It is a public company but is not listed. Its stock is traded on the grey market.


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