NRG Yield, Inc., through its subsidiary NRG Yield Operating LLC, has entered into an agreement with GE Unit GE Energy Financial Services to acquire its 25% interest in the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm in Riverside, CA. With the acquisition, NRG Yield’s operating assets now reach 600MW.
NRG Yield paid $285 million for the acquisition, which is subject to customary working capital adjustments, plus the assumption of $287.4 million of non-recourse project level debt. The acquisition, which provides NRG Yield with a total ownership of 137.5 MW of operating solar capacity, will place NRG Yield into a partnership with subsidiaries of NextEra Energy and Sumitomo Financial, who are the 50% and 25% owners of Desert Sunlight, respectively.
The transaction is expected to increase both the annual run-rate EBITDA by approximately $45 million and cash available for distribution by approximately $22 million by 2016.
With this acquisition, NRG Yield now owns nearly 600MW of solar generation. NRG Yield is supported by its parent, NRG Energy, Inc., which owns and operates approximately 1.2 GW of solar generation, thus implying a combined solar portfolio of 1.8GW.
“The acquisition of an interest in the largest operating solar farm in North America highlights not only our continued commitment to carbon-free generation, but also the strength of our acquisition capabilities to compete for contracted assets of world-class quality in a historically competitive marketplace," said David Crane, NRG Yield’s Chairman and Chief Executive Office.
The Desert Sunlight solar farm is constructed and operated by First Solar, utilizing 8 million First Solar CdTe thin film modules. It achieved commercial operation in December 2014, and has been contracted long-term power purchase agreements with Southern California Edison (250MW) and Pacific Gas & Electric (300MW), having 20 years and 25 years of contract life, respectively.
The solar farm is expected to be immediately accretive to cash available for distribution per share. The attractive long-term debt financing is in place, with 80% of debt service supported by a DOE loan guarantee.
NRG Yield expects to close the transaction by June 30, 2015. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approvals by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and notice of the acquisition to the California Public Utilities Commission.