Brightsource, NextEra win Solar Trust of America site purchase approval

A Delaware court has approved applications from BrightSource and NextEra to buy up two large solar power projects up for sale as part of Solar Power of America’s bankruptcy proceedings.

Both Brightsource and NextEra were the victors in an auction of Solar Power of America’s assets, held after the company filed for bankruptcy in April. The proceedings come after Solar Power of America’s parent, Solar Millennium, filed for insolvency in its native Germany last year in the wake of a Europe-wide glut of solar panels and a drop in unit prices.

Utility NextEra, which already has a wind and solar power portfolio, is hoping to scoop the 1GW Blythe solar park, currently under construction in California, for $50 million. Meanwhile solar power developer Brightsource wants to purchase the partially-permitted 500MW Palen project, also in California, for $10 million.

Following the court approval, the two companies will now work with Solar Power of America to meet the conditions of the sale, which is expected to close next month.

Currently, partially permitted as a solar thermal parabolic trough plant, the Palen project is an “excellent fit” for BrightSource’s portfolio of future development sites, Brightsource said in a statement, highlighting that the site has access to transmission lines and is located in an area with “very strong solar resources.”

The project spans 4,230 acres of public and private land, approximately 10 miles east of Desert Centre in Riverside County, California. Brightsource intends to install two of its 250MW solar power tower plants and connect them to the California grid at the nearby Red Bluff substation, which is under construction and on schedule to be completed in December 2013.

Solar Trust of America was formed in 2009 by Solar Millennium and German industrial giant Ferrostaal in order to build a solar thermal power project in the American Southwest. The Palen project received its permit from the California Energy Commission in December 2010 and was in the final stages of permitting with the Bureau of Land Management. However, in 2011, Solar Millennium filed for bankruptcy in Germany, and cutting off funding to the project.

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