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Former SunEdison executives make big solar buy

A renewable energy company run by former SunEdison Inc. executives has acquired a big portfolio of unfinished solar projects across the U.S.

Longroad Energy Holdings LLC said it bought a 3,000-MW portfolio from 7x Energy Inc. The companies plan to jointly develop the projects and to work together in the future. "This is a powerful way for both of our companies to offer utilities and large commercial customers a simpler, faster, lower-risk path to meeting their renewable energy needs," 7x President and CEO Clay Butler said of the partnership.

Longroad was founded last year by four men who went to work for SunEdison after the now-bankrupt project developer bought their former company, First Wind Holdings LLC, in 2015. During the first few months of SunEdison's public unraveling, which started in July 2015, there were hopes that the First Wind team would be able to help stabilize its new employer.

Longroad CEO Paul Gaynor, who founded First Wind in 2004, was the executive vice president of SunEdison's global utility-scale development business; company COO Michael Alvarez was executive vice president in charge SunEdison's engineering, procurement, construction, asset management, information technology and facilities operations; CFO Peter Keel was the finance chief of SunEdison's global utility-scale development business and general manager of the company's North American division; and Chief Investment Officer Charles Spiliotis was SunEdison's vice president of strategy and mergers and acquisitions.

7x Chief Development Officer Scott Pryor was managing director of project development at SunEdison.

"We are enthusiastic about our relationship with Longroad," Butler said in a news release.

Last October, less than six months after SunEdison filed for bankruptcy, Longroad said it received an equity investment and credit commitment from Infratil Ltd., a New Zealand-based infrastructure and utility company, and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, a sovereign wealth fund.

Prior to the deal with 7x, Longroad's only other large transaction appears to have been an acquisition of wind turbine components that will be able to qualify more than 600 MW of projects for the U.S. investment tax credit, which is set to phase out by 2020. Longroad bought the components from a subsidiary of Vestas Wind Systems A/S.

"We are happy to continue our long-standing and successful relationship with the Longroad team," Vestas North America President Chris Brown said in a Jan. 9 news release. "Over the years, we have sold in excess of $1.5 billion worth of wind turbines and are confident that their track record of success will continue."