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AES, Tesla set to scoop up SunEdison assets on discount

AES Corp. and Tesla Motors Inc. are the latest buyers to emerge for what remains of SunEdison Inc.'s solar assets.

In separate filings on Dec. 22 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, counsel to SunEdison spelled out agreements for the sale of select Minnesota solar assets to AES affiliate AES Distributed Energy, Inc., as well as the sale of unused solar equipment to Tesla.

For the Minnesota commercial-scale solar assets, AES emerged as the highest bidder, after Edison International subsidiary SoCore Energy LLC chose not to purchase five of the assets that were initially included in the portfolio of 22 assets it agreed to acquire in September.

AES has agreed to purchase the five community solar projects turned down by SoCore, as well as two additional projects that were not included in the original SoCore package.

The seven projects are anticipated to equal 32-MW combined capacity with offtakes arranged under Minnesota’s community solar program.

AES will pay what amounts to $20.9 million in proceeds, subject to certain adjustments negotiated in the sale agreement. That price is $500,000 higher than AES initially bid after SoCore withdrew and equal to the offer of another bidder that was rejected because it "presented substantially greater execution risk," the filing states.

SoCore opted to defer from purchasing community solar project where land use permitting had not advanced beyond the interim stage, according to the filing.

With SoCore backing out of the initial deal, counsel to SunEdison notes that the orphaned Minnesota assets lost value over the four different sale processes that spanned one year.

"For the five project companies which were previously part of the SoCore sale, the buyer has offered approximately 81.1% of the consideration that would have otherwise been received from SoCore," the filing states.

Separately, Tesla is set to purchase unused solar equipment, which appear to be inverters, from SunEdison subsidiary PVT Solar Inc. for what amounts to $70,000 in proceeds, according to a court filing. That deal is set to close on Dec. 30, 2016, pending approval from Judge Stuart Bernstein.

The hearing for approval of the sale to AES is scheduled for Jan. 12, 2017, in the Southern District court. Objections to the proposed sale to AES must be filed by Jan. 5, 2017.