Swiss Private Equity Giant Makes $400 Million Bet on U.S. Solar

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Swiss private equity firm Partners Group Holding AG agreed to buy a majority stake in U.S. community solar developer Dimension Renewable Energy, betting its niche market could grow tenfold in the coming years.

Partners paid $400 million for the stake, according to a person with knowledge of the deal, who asked not to be named because they aren’t authorized to discuss it publicly. The Baar, Switzerland-based firm didn’t disclose a price for the acquisition.

Partners expects U.S. community solar projects to reach as much as 30 gigawatts within the next five years, up from about 3 gigawatts currently, said Todd Bright, Partner’s head of private infrastructure in the Americas. That would be enough to power over 20 million average U.S. homes.

“We think community solar will be the fastest growing segment of the solar sector in the U.S.,” he said.

Partners, which has almost $110 billion in assets under management, makes about half its investments in the U.S. It expects Dimension will be worth $1.2 billion within five years.

Dimension’s projects, which are smaller than the massive solar farms favored by power companies, provide electricity to local businesses and homes that sign up for the service, especially in low-income communities. They feed electricity into a local power grid and customers who choose to subscribe get a credit on their bill.

The projects have an average capacity of 5 megawatts, each taking up between 20 and 30 acres, Bright said.

Dimension was founded by Sam Youneszadeh and Rafael Dobrzynski in 2018 and has about 1.6 gigawatts of projects in development, half in solar and half in battery storage, across eight states including California, Arizona and New York.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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