Canadian Solar joins forces with Windel for 1.4GWp UK solar pipeline

Canadian Solar joins forces with Windel for 1.4GWp UK solar pipeline

In an attempt to improve their UK presence, Canadian solar giant Solar and Windel Capital are teaming up for a 1.4GWp solar pipeline.

Having signed a project development agreement for the pipeline, the two companies plan to achieve ready-to-build status in the second half of 2021 for the first of these projects. It will be up to Windel to deliver the ready-to-build early-stage projects, with Canadian Solar providing financing, funding and power purchase agreement procurement.

The possibility for several of these projects to be co-located with battery storage is also being explored by Windel, with Gary Toomey, managing partner of Windel Capital, stating the firm is “looking forward” to co-developing “clean and affordable solar energy”.

Windel and Canadian Solar have previously partnered together in Wales on a 10MWp feed-in tariff/community interest company project, and this new pipeline is set to help both companies' development in the UK.

Commenting on the announcement, Finlay Colville, head of market research at Solar Media, said: “Canadian Solar is now joining a host of downstream players seeking to form alliances with early stage project development in the UK. However there are a few key differences with Canadian's latest news. Unlike others that have indicated wanting to play in future GW-plus of UK solar assets, Canadian Solar has a strong track record in the UK. Before, this was during subsidy-days, and involved buying consented shovel ready sites, bringing in third-party EPCs and then flipping on build 6-12 months typically after grid-connection.

"Another difference today is that Canadian Solar is now in the process of carving out its upstream manufacturing operations, leaving the downstream arm listed in the US. This should allow Canadian Solar to be even more focused on downstream business, including the UK side. The risk though is that the new arrangement does not push through sites out of planning quickly - in this case, we could expect Canadian Solar simply to revert to its former modus operandi by buying sites others have got through initial planning phases."

At the end of 2019, Canadian Solar explained how a pipeline of subsidy-free solar farms in the UK was being created, joining a number of companies to also start targeting subsidy-free UK solar, including NextEnergy Solar Fund and Bluefield Solar Income Fund. A year earlier, it sold a total of £ 191.2 million to Greencoat Renewables for its 142 MW solar PV portfolio,

Established in 2001, the solar company has shipped over 49GW of solar photovoltaic modules to customers in more than 150 countries. Most recently, it sold to BluEarth Renewables its interest in two 31MWp ventures in Alberta, Canada.

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