Principal Solar Seeks to Buy 250 Megawatts of Projects

Principal Solar Inc., a U.S. builder and buyer of solar farms, plans to purchase as much as 250 megawatts of U.S. power projects this year with backing from Carlyle Capital Markets Inc.

Principal Solar expects to complete 100 megawatts of deals by mid-year, Chief Executive Officer Michael Gorton said today in an interview. The Dallas-based company already owns about 4 megawatts of systems.

Solar projects of at least 10 megawatts that have long-term power-purchase agreements with utilities are the most attractive, Gorton said. Prices for photovoltaic panels have slumped about 59 percent since the start of 2011, making solar power more competitive with electricity from other sources.

“There are places around the world where grid parity already exists -- it’s kind of an inevitability,” Gorton said. “There are lots of solar-power generation facilities around the country that are cash-flow positive -- or very close to cash-flow positive -- and we’re interested in buying those because we’ve figured out ways to make them more efficient.”

(Corrects company location in second paragraph of story published Jan. 17.)
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