U.S. to Lead Clean Energy M&A as Solar Stays in Lead

The U.S., with 42 percent of the $37.8 billion in clean-energy mergers and acquisitions activity last year, will maintain its top spot this year led by solar energy, the head of CohnReznick LLP’s renewable practice said.

As global investment in renewable energy continues to increase, the U.S. is expected to remain the most attractive market for investors due to its recovering economy and government incentives, Anton Cohen of the New York-based accounting and consulting company said in an interview yesterday.

Institutional investors are attracted by the large number of operating renewable-energy assets being sold by their original developers, Cohen said.

“They know there is only room to increase the installed capacity in the U.S.,” he said.

Solar power is the most attractive sector for investors, Cohen said, ranging from small, rooftop projects to utility-scale plants like the one Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. agreed in January to buy for as much as $2.5 billion.

Solar led a survey of investors as the top sector for renewable investment, CohnReznick said in a report released this week. That’s because solar power projects are stable assets providing predictable returns, said Cohen.

According to the survey, 63 percent of investors are targeting investment in solar photovoltaic projects, more than the 45 percent for biomass and 41 percent for onshore wind.

“From an investment perspective, there’s a lot of comfort with solar and how it works,” Cohen said.

Last year, the U.S. installed 3.3 gigawatts of solar power, with more than 5 gigawatts expected to be installed this year, according the the Solar Energy Industries Association.

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