A month ago, we reported that Recurrent Energy, the large solar developer, was shopping itself around.
At 4 P.M. the company will make an announcement "to discuss significant news related to the company. There have been rumors circulating today which will be addressed on the call."
Hmmm. Doesn't sound like a non-binding alliance with MiaSolé.
Who are the potential buyers? The leading rumor is that it is Sharp, which has fallen behind First Solar and Suntech in market share in recent years. We've heard that now from a few people. (That's Recurrent CEO Arno Harris on the left with Shai Agassi and Martin Roscheisen. Two of the three of them have jobs).
Less likely, but viable, candidates are First Solar and SunPower. Those companies are the leaders when it comes to combining solar manufacturing and project development. Serving as the project developer helps secure a product pipeline -- something Sharp could use.
Beyond Sharp, First Solar and SunPower, there is an interesting, but more remote, chance that the buyer is Suntech. Suntech and the other Chinese vendors like Yingli and Trina have been angling to get into project development and these companies enjoy the backing of China's banks.
"After Recurrent goes, there is really only one established pure-play utility-scale project developer left in the U.S -- Axio Power. And Axio is in the process of undergoing some kind of strategic transaction as well."
Who might be buying Axio? All of the names above minus Sharp, if the expected goes through.
Here is what Eric Wesoff wrote about the Recurrent situation on August 17:
Solar project developers with strong project pipelines are a hot property. Owning a project developer or an IPP allows a firm such as, say, a solar module manufacturer to capture more of the solar value chain and provides a captive outlet for product.
SunPower and First Solar have acquired a number of project developers, and even silicon manufacturer MEMC has looked to get vertical with investments in Tioga Energy and the acquisition of Sun Edison. Recurrent Energy uses Suntech panels on their San Francisco reservoir project.
Recurrent Energy is developing a fleet of distributed-scale solar projects in North America and Europe. The VC-funded firm develops ground-mount and roof-based solar power plants that are interconnected at utility substations or on a distribution network.
One of Recurrent's most prominent projects was a public-private project that just closed long term debt financing -- the 5-megawatt solar power system located at the Sunset Reservoir in occasionally sunny San Francisco, California. The company secured approximately $18 million for the project from Prudential Capital Group, which provided 24-year term debt financing. Recurrent Energy also has PPAs with utility Southern California Edison.
The project will be one of the largest municipal solar power systems in the United States and will more than triple San Francisco’s total municipal solar energy output. It is expected to be fully operational by early fall of 2010.
According to Recurrent's CEO Arno Harris, “We have more than 330 megawatts of distributed-scale projects in our contracted portfolio across North America and Europe." Recurrent has a pipeline of over 1.3 gigawatts of distributed-scale solar projects in development across North America and Europe. The firm also has projects in France, Spain, Canada and Israel.
Investors in Recurrent include Mohr Davidow Ventures and Hudson Clean Energy Partners. Both investors declined to comment on this story.