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SunEdison drops $2.2B to acquire Vivint Solar

SunEdison drops $2.2B to acquire Vivint Solar

SunEdison, the world's largest renewable energy development company, announced a definitive agreement to buy Vivint Solar, one of the largest providers of residential rooftop solar systems.

The deal accelerates SunEdison's efforts to become a leading global residential and commercial solar provider, Deutsche Bank analyst Vishal Shah said in a market analysis.

SunEdison said it will pay $2.2 billion for Vivint Solar in a combination of cash, shares of SunEdison common stock and convertible notes. The deal means SunEdison's solar farm subsidiary, TerraForm Power, will gain a customer base that already contracted to purchase 523 megawatts (MW) of rooftop solar by the end of the year that is worth $922 million.

Separately, Hewlett-Packard announced it has signed a 12-year power purchase agreement with SunEdison.

TerraForm Power, which is SunEdison's business dedicated to owning and operating solar farms, will also take on future completed residential and small commercial projects from SunEdison's expanded residential and small commercial (RSC) business unit.

The Vivint Solar management team will join SunEdison. SunEdison's RSC development business and the Vivint Solar team will be merged.

Vivint Solar, based in Lehi, Utah, operates in seven states -- Arizona, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and the District of Columbia.

Vivint Solar was the second-largest residential solar installer in the U.S. in 2013, according to GTM Research. Like other residential solar power providers, Vivint installs solar panels at no cost to the homeowner, but the user signs an agreement to buy the power the panels produce over a set number of years.

Shah said the acquisition news is generally positive for the solar power industry.

"This transaction also reiterates our view that [SunEdison/TerraForm Power] is best positioned to acquire assets due to cost of capital/structure and scale advantages over other players in the industry," Shah stated.

SunEdison's contract with HP calls for the technology giant to buy 112MW of wind power from SunEdison. The 112 MW of locally generated wind electricity is sufficient to power 100% of HP's Texas-based data center operations, the equivalent of powering 42,600 homes each year, and will avoid the emission of more than 340,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

The agreement will allow HP to reach its 2020 operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goal by the end of the 2015 fiscal year, five years ahead of schedule, the company stated.

"This agreement represents the latest step we are taking on HP's journey to reduce our carbon footprint across our entire value chain, while creating a stronger, more resilient company and a sustainable world," Gabi Zedlmayer, vice president and chief progress officer for HP, stated.

The agreement is HP's first utility-scale renewable energy purchase.

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