Borrego, one of San Diego’s earliest pioneers in the solar industry, is getting out of the development business.
Last month, the company announced it was selling off the development side of its business to Energy Capital Partners (ECP), a leading energy transition-focused investor with decades of experience in the electricity, renewable and sustainable solutions sector.
The total transaction amount is estimated at $567 million and the gain on disposal for Walsin, Borrego’s parent company, will be about $288 million.
Included in the deal are hundreds of projects across the U.S. in Borrego’s development pipeline that once constructed will provide 8.4 GW of solar and 6.4 GW/25 GWh of energy storage.
Keep Two, Sell One
Borrego will retain both its EPC (energy, procurement and construction) and O&M (operations and maintenance) businesses.
“We are seeing tremendous opportunities in Borrego’s EPC and O&M services. This sale ensures we can invest in our people and build the technology that will position them to capitalize on what will be a record-breaking decade for solar and storage deployment in the United States,” said Borrego CEO Mike Hall.
The decision to sell the development business, which Hall described as the company’s “most profitable part,” was to simplify operations, provide liquidity for the company’s long-time investors and reduce the investment risk involved with the larger projects Borrego was developing.
“That eight-plus gigawatts of pipeline is quite large and has been growing very quickly, and in development you need to invest in these projects at risk,” Hall said. “There was a capital need so finding a partner who could provide that capital was one of the things we were looking out for.”
Upon the completion of the transaction, ECP will operate the development business as an independent company under a yet-to-be-determined name. The business will be headquartered in Lowell, Massachusetts, and will be led by the current development team. Dan Berwick, current president of the development business, will become CEO.
“By becoming an independent company, we will be able to take full advantage of our existing multi-gigawatt solar and storage project pipeline and, more importantly, continue growing fast in service of our mission,” Berwick said. “Of course, this would not be possible without the years spent building up the business at Borrego as well as the financial support and commitment of our partner, ECP, which has become one of the leading investors in sustainable infrastructure and renewable energy-based decarbonization.”
Partnering with Borrego’s development business will create ECP’s 11th renewable platform and fourth standalone solar platform.
“At ECP, we believe the opportunity set in sustainable infrastructure is expanding rapidly as the world continues to advance electrification as a means to decarbonize,” said Andrew Gilbert, partner at ECP.
“Borrego’s development business owns a best-in-class track record and project pipeline. We are thrilled to be partnering with Dan and team to help continue the company’s tremendous growth and success.”
History of Growth and Success
Borrego Solar, which currently has offices in multiple states, began as a single project by founder Jim Rickard to supply electricity for his off-grid home in Borrego Springs. In 1980, he started a business building similar projects for neighbors.
“But it was a very small business, only doing one or two projects year,” Hall said.
In the early 2000s, with a $40,000 investment split between Rickard and Hall’s family, Borrego Solar incorporated and moved into the Hall family garage in San Carlos and began offering grid-connected systems.
“We started in 2002 when there really wasn’t much of a solar industry. The whole U.S. industry was smaller than just one of our projects now,” Hall said.
Over the last 20 years, the company has built some the country’s largest solar and energy storage projects. Locally, Borrego has built solar projects at the San Diego International Airport, most of the community colleges in the San Diego Community College District, as well as large solar projects for Qualcomm and other corporate campuses in the area. Since then, Borrego has expanded into providing even more energy at scale.
“Most of what we do these days tends to be outside of urban and suburban areas, more in either ag land or undeveloped land because we’re building larger and larger power plants,” Hall said.