GE’s Rise as a Major Solar Investor 

By Ucilia Wang of Given the low interest rates and plummeting prices for solar energy equipment, it would seem a good time for investing in solar power generation. GE Energy Financial Services, for one, has been pursuing solar deals actively and on Wednesday it announced a $100 million equity investment in a solar power plant in Arizona.

The investment helps close the financing of the $550 million, 127-megawatt project being developed by LS Power, which also lined up debt financing from Prudential Capital Group, Banco Santander and others, GE said. LS Power has hired Fluor Corp. as a general contractor and operator of the project, which is set for completion in 2013 and will supply power to San Diego Gas & Electric under a long-term agreement. The project, called Arlington Valley Solar II, will rise about 40 miles west of Phoenix.

GE not only announced the deal in the Arlington Valley project, it also took the opportunity to tout its investments in solar over the past year. It called 2011 a record year and said it put up $1.4 billion in 48 – or 1 gigawatt’s worth – of solar power projects worldwide, including those in Canada, Australia, Portugal, Spain and Italy.

Solar power plant investments have taken off in the United States over the past three years as developers successfully secured permits and the federal and state governments provided policy and financial support to meet their clean energy and job creation goals. Read more

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