MMA Renewables Sold – European Firms Jockeying for US Presence

The Guardian announced in November that “BP had dropped all plans to build wind farms and other renewable schemes in Britain and is instead concentrating the bulk of its $8bn renewables spending program on the US, where government incentives for clean energy projects can provide a convenient tax shelter for oil and gas revenues”. The ARRA (aka Stimulus Package) should hasten that shift of focus.

Similarly, Fotowatio of Spain today announced its bold move: By buying the assets of Baltimore and San Francisco based Solar Developer MMA Renewable Ventures (MMARV), Fotowatio’s global portfolio will include more than 130 megawatts of operating solar projects in the United States. It might not be a name you’ve heard much about… yet. Fotowatio has invested more than US$880 million (€700 million) in solar projects since 2006 and plans to invest up to US$3.2 billion (€2.5 billion) by 2012 in Spain, Italy and the United States.

“This acquisition will significantly expand Fotowatio’s portfolio, allowing us to meet our aggressive growth targets earlier than anticipated,” said Rafael Benjumea, CEO of Fotowatio. “With the addition of MMA’s assets and talented development team, we will be poised to expand in fast-growing markets in the United States, Spain and Italy.”

Loosely translated that means: We figured out how to make money in Spain while we could. That is getting harder, so now we need help figuring out how to do it in the US, and we’ve picked up a great team with a track record to help us execute. I can speak highly about MMA’s team having worked with them on a consulting project for a few months in 2007; particularly great are their forward leaning younger team members – including occasional CleanTechies blogger Mark Higgins.

It wasn’t much of a secret that MMA had been for sale for a while, and I’m sure the deal is a breath of fresh air to their team given the exposure of their parent company, Munie Mae, to the collapse of the real estate market. It had left MMA in a poor position to execute on deals, and prospects for a new fund – following the successful deployment of its $200M Solar III Fund – didn’t look good in the current economic environment. Hopefully this latest partnership will allow the MMA team to bring its developed deals on line, while accelerating the dissemination of Spanish solar experience in the Americas.

Congrats MMA! Particularly as a graduate of a Spanish university, I think you made a great deal. We all look forward to your continued success!

MMA’s Press Release

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