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Koch joins renewables revolution, buys builder of solar power plants


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Koch joins renewables revolution, buys builder of solar power plants

Koch Engineered Solutions LLC, a subsidiary of industrial giant Koch Industries Inc., is expanding into renewable energy generation with the purchase of DEPCOM Power Inc., an Arizona-based company that builds large-scale solar power plants, the companies announced Nov. 30.

DEPCOM is a fast-growing solar engineering, procurement and construction company. It has a project portfolio that includes roughly 5,000 MW of capacity completed, under construction and in the advanced stages of development.

The companies did not disclose a transaction price.

Koch, which traditionally has focused on fossil fuel projects, cited the "cost-competitiveness of utility-scale solar on an unsubsidized basis" and its "increasingly significant" share of the power mix for driving the company's entrance into renewables.

"This acquisition is a major development for [Koch Engineered Solutions], as DEPCOM will enable our entry into the fast-growing renewables market, reinforcing our commitment to the electrical infrastructure market segment," Dave Dotson, president of the Koch affiliate, said in a statement.

'Seeking out disruption'

The acquisition follows a series of investments by Koch Engineered Solutions, known as KES, and Koch Strategic Platforms LLC, or KSP, into battery storage, electric vehicle charging and smart grid technologies.

"We are believers in the electrification of everything, driven by economics and consumer trends, and look for where we can add value across the electric value chain from generation to end-user consumption," Dotson said in an email.

In October, KSP formed a joint venture with European lithium-ion battery upstart Freyr Battery and co-invested $70 million into battery developer 24M Technologies Inc. KSP has also invested hundreds of millions of dollars into additional energy storage companies, including lithium-ion battery recycler Li-Cycle Holdings Corp., start-up Lithion Power Group Ltd. and zinc-based battery developer Eos Energy Enterprises Inc.

In 2020, KES acquired Sentient Energy Inc., a supplier of smart grid solutions for the distribution grid, including the integration of solar and electric vehicles.

"We are looking across the entire electric value chain, seeking out disruption and innovation where we can add greater value and transform our business," Dotson said. "We see the renewable electric generation space as a significant growth market with increasing consumer demand, and where we can provide operators and consumers increased value going forward."

Through its purchase of DEPCOM, KES plans to focus foremost on supplying solar farms in the United States and Canada, and the company intends to expand into energy storage, Dotson added.