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Exclusive: GSI acquires huge community solar portfolio

Illustration of rows of solar panels with abstract shapes and money elements.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Greenwood Sustainable Infrastructure has acquired Saturn Power's solar and battery development portfolios, in a deal aimed at expanding GSI's clean energy projects, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: About 90% of the portfolio being acquired from the Ontario-based company is community solar, putting GSI on track to become one of the biggest community solar developers in the U.S.

The details: The deal includes a 1.4 GW pipeline of early to late- stage solar and energy storage projects in five U.S. states and two Canadian provinces.

  • GSI, a subsidiary of Libra Group, plans to invest $200 million to develop the projects.
  • Saturn president Doug Wagner is joining GSI's board.
  • Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Zoom in: GSI has rapidly expanded in the past year.

  • Last year it acquired 233 MW of utility-scale assets from Denver-based developer CMDAJ Holdings. That deal tripled GSI's solar-energy holdings and doubled its U.S. footprint to 10 states.
  • The Saturn pipeline represents another 6x increase to GSI's holdings — and roughly doubles renewables portfolio of GSI's parent company, Libra Group.

Catch up fast: Community solar projects enable local residents or businesses to subscribe to electricity that's generated offsite.

  • The model is especially appealing to people who live in apartments or aren't homeowners. Projects are typically less than 5 MW in capacity.

State of play: Community solar had an ugly 2022, as grid logjams and trade disputes caused a 16% drop in new installations, per Wood Mackenzie.

Yes, but: The sector is seeing a wave of investment and consolidation this year, partly fueled by new incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act.

  • Just last week, developer Summit Ridge Energy and solar module manufacturer Qcells touted their 1.2 GW supply agreement as the "largest community solar purchase" in the U.S.
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