French major Total grows its renewables, energy efficiency businesses

Image: SunPower

Continuing its move into renewables, France’s oil major Total will acquire a 23 per cent stake in compatriot company Eren Renewable Energy (EREN RE) in its biggest external renewable energy purchase since it bought San Jose, California-based solar company SunPower in 2011.

Total also announced this week it will acquire GreenFlex, a French company specialized in energy efficiency.

Founded in 2012, EREN RE has developed wind, solar and hydro projects representing a global installed capacity of 650 MW in operation or under construction largely in Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America. Its ambition is to achieve a global installed capacity of more than three GW within five years.

EREN RE, to be renamed Total Eren, will allow the Total to both accelerate its growth in solar energy and move into the wind power market, while advancing its own goal to achieve five GW of installed capacity in five years.

“In line with the Group's integrated strategy along the oil and gas value chains, we are rebalancing our portfolio in renewables between the upstream manufacturing with SunPower and the downstream power production with EREN RE,” Philippe Sauquet, president Gas, Renewables and Power, said in a statement.

In addition to is holdings in SunPower, Total also set up its own affiliate, Total Solar, this year in order to develop solar power plants in developed countries and distributed solar systems for industrial and commercial customers. SunPower, which manufactures and markets photovoltaic solar panels worldwide, will focus its development activities on distributed generation in the business to consumer and business-to-business markets in the United States.

Total will acquire an indirect interest of 23 per cent in EREN RE by subscribing to a capital increase of €237.5 million, with the option to take over control of the company after five years.

Founded in 2009, GreenFlex has grown rapidly, with forecast revenue of more than €350 million in 2017. It combines data intelligence and equipment management and financing to help clients manage their energy consumption efficiently. Through the acquisition Total said it will offer integrated solutions, from optimization of energy needs and sources and finding financing solutions to energy management and emissions measurement and reduction.

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