General Electric and BlackRock Real Assets, described by Greentech Media as an “asset management firm and heavyweight renewables investor,” have unveiled a joint investment in distributed solar and solar+storage projects for commercial, industrial, and public sector power consumers.
GE has been incubating the company since 2012, and is now taking an ownership share of 20%, alongside 80% for BlackRock, Greentech reports.
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“What we specialize in at Distributed Solar Development is the origination, development, design, execution, building, and asset management of distributed solar and storage projects,” most of them behind the meter, said CEO Erik Schiemann. “BlackRock’s investment further advances our growth in that platform, allows us to take on new markets, and allows us to double down in the markets we’re currently successful in.”
“This investment will deepen our clients’ access to the tremendous growth potential in the U.S. solar industry,” said David Giordano, BlackRock’s global head of renewable power.
The cash infusion gives Distributed the ability to invest in some of the projects it develops, something it has never done before, Greentech says.
So far, the company has developed about 125 projects in 15 U.S. states, specializing in carport solar installations but also ranging into “rooftop and greenfield projects, as well as front-of-meter, distribution-grid-connected systems,” the story notes, citing Schiemann. A small proportion of them currently incorporate battery storage, but the added feature is more or less standard in new proposals for states that favour it.
BlackRock “has primarily invested in utility-scale renewables, with US$5 billion invested in more than 250 wind and solar projects with a total generation capacity of over 5.2 gigawatts,” and some distributed solar projects entering its portfolio earlier this year.
Greentech traces GE’s “bumpy road through the solar landscape”, noting that the company is a leader in onshore and offshore wind but has seen dramatic shifts in its approach to solar, storage, and distributed energy.
So far, “solar remains a tiny fraction of GE’s overall renewables business,” the publication notes. “Onshore wind accounted for nearly 90% of the Paris-based Renewable Energy segment’s revenues last year, with hydro chipping in most of the rest.”
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