SunEdison Raises $126 Million in U.K. Shift to Rooftops

SunEdison Inc., the best-performing solar company last year, raised 84.6 million pounds ($126 million) for a portfolio of U.K. sun-powered plants as it plans to shift its technology from fields to rooftops.

The company secured the money from Bayerische Landesbank to replenish its cash after building eight projects of 97 megawatts across the U.K., it said Tuesday in a statement. The non-recourse loan will help it shift its strategy toward rooftop installations after the U.K. government cut subsidies to ground-mounted facilities bigger than 5 megawatts.

“We’re aiming to install about 300 megawatts of rooftop solar, equally split across the residential and commercial sectors in the U.K. over the coming three to five years,” Beniamino Paradiso, SunEdison’s vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said by phone. “This is partly due to the government’s shift in policy but also due to our customers’ demands.”

Rooftop solar installations are typically much smaller than ground-mounted plants that tend to be 5 megawatts or larger. The U.K. government this month changed support for projects bigger than 5 megawatts to deter farmers from installing facilities in their fields. Britain instead is promoting the use of rooftops, easing planning consents for projects of as much as 1 megawatt.

All the facilities in SunEdison’s 97-megawatt portfolio were connected to the grid before the support changed so they’re still eligible to receive subsidies, according to the statement. They’re in the south as well as the Midlands and range from 6 megawatts to 19 megawatts in capacity, providing enough power for as many as 30,000 homes a year.

SunEdison plans to sell all of the facilities to TerraForm Power Inc. for an undisclosed sum. It’s already sold 53 megawatts worth and expects to dispose of the remainder by the end of the quarter. EDF Energy UK Ltd. agreed to buy the power from the facilities for 15 years.

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