Solar developer Intersect gets $750 million investment from private equity firm TPG

(Reuters) – A top U.S. solar energy project developer on Tuesday announced a $750 million equity investment from the climate-focused private equity fund TPG Rise Climate.

The announcement from TPG is part of the firm’s push into climate change and clean energy investing on behalf of clients that include large pension funds and insurance companies seeking to do more for the environment. The climate fund’s executive chairman is former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and earlier this year it said it had raised $7.3 billion.

Intersect Power LLC, which is based in San Francisco, said the new funding will help expand its portfolio of clean energy projects to more than 8 gigawatts – about enough electricity to power 1.5 million homes – from the current 2.4 GW.

It will also allow the company to pursue new businesses like green hydrogen and wind energy, its chief executive said. Hydrogen is considered “green” when it is produced using renewable energy such as solar.

“This is an acknowledgement that a physical infrastructure company, people that put steel in the ground, can also deliver growth,” Intersect CEO Sheldon Kimber said in an interview. “You know $750 million is a lot of money, but when you look at the scope and scale of our ambition, it’s an appropriate amount of money.”

In a statement, TPG Partner Ed Beckley said the fund was attracted to Intersect’s track record of completing large solar projects and its unique business model. Unlike many other solar developers, Intersect retains ownership of its projects rather than selling them to third parties and has pioneered shorter-term contracts that generate higher investor returns.

Intersect has also relied heavily on domestic supplies of solar panels from First Solar, helping insulate it from recent disruptions in the global supply chain that have challenged the fast-growing solar energy industry, Kimber said.

(Reporting by Nichola Groom in Los Angeles; Editing by Matthew Lewis)