Citi, Good Energies invest $140m in solar

The firms are among six private equity investors that have participated in SolarReserve’s secong round of financing.

SolarReserve, a California-based developer of utility-scale solar power plants, has closed on a second round of funding totaling $140 million (€98.5 million) from a syndicate of private equity investors.

The financing was led by Sustainable Development Investments, the renewable energy private equity group within Citi Alternative Investments that is headed by Andrew de Pass, and Good Energies, a Swiss renewable energy-focused private equity fund headed by Marcel Brenninkmeijer.

Other investors include SolarReserve’s founding investor, the US Renewables Group, along with PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund, a $15 billion fund-of-funds dedicated to clean energy and technology managed by PCG Asset Management, Nimes Capital, a private equity fund run by Nazarian Enterprises, and Credit Suisse’s Customised Fund Investment Group.

It is unclear how much funding each partner devoted towards the $140 million total.

SolarReserve receives technology and engineering support from United Technologies – a global aerospace and building engineering and technology firm that ranks among the world’s largest manufacturers, with $55 billion in fiscal year 2007. The firm has provided SolarReserve with the exclusive worldwide license for its solar technology.

“The technology backing by United Technologies and the ability of the system to store energy differentiates SolarReserve from other alternative technologies and has the ability to replace conventional fuel-burning power plants,” Citi’s de Pass said in a statement.

The firm plans to use the funding to support the development of large-scale solar energy projects in the US and internationally, with each project capable of providing electricity for up to 100,000 homes.

Solar energy technology has been getting a lot of notice lately from private equity investors. Paris and Longon-based Platina Partners just augmented its position in the Spanish solar market, having provided €128 million in debt financing for two projects in Andalucía.

Two days earlier, Italian firms Cape Natixis and Helio Partners announced plans to raise €70 million for solar power investments in Italy and Mediterranean Europe.

And in the US, thin-film solar panel company Nanosolar recently raised $300 million in financing from The Carlyle Group, Grazia Equity and GLG Partners, among other private equity investors.