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Public input sought on control of airport solar farm

The public have been asked for their views on a proposed change of ownership at the island’s first large-scale solar farm.

The solar array on a disused section of the airport, which is expected to produce enough electricity to power about 1,100 homes for a year (File photograph)

An application published on the Regulatory Authority website said that a deal was struck in September between Saturn Power, the company behind the six-megawatt plant at the airport, and FB Solar LLC, which is owned by the Bermuda Infrastructure Fund.

It added that the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the project would be contracted out but the name of the business that would take on the work was removed from the documents.

The application said that a renewable energy bulk generation licence was issued to Saturn Solar Bermuda 1 in April 2020.

It added that Saturn Power International, an Ontario-based company that owns Saturn Solar Bermuda Holdings — which owns all the shares in SSB1 — “entered into a sale and purchase agreement dated 13 September 2021 … with FB Solar LLC, a Bermuda exempted limited liability company”.

The application added: “One of the conditions to the transfer under the sale and purchase agreement is that the company receives the consent of the authority to the change of control of the licensee.”

It explained that the new parent company, FB Solar LLC, was wholly owned by Fortress Bermuda Holdings, "which, in turn, is wholly owned by Fortress Bermuda Infrastructure Partners (A) LP (known as ‘The Bermuda Infrastructure Fund’), a limited partnership investment fund that was established to invest in Bermuda-based infrastructure projects and which is known to the Bermuda Government, which is an investor therein“.

The application said that the Minister of Finance issued a licence to Fortress Bermuda Holdings — or Fund Holdco — to do business on the island in line with the Companies Act 1981.

Demetrios Tserpelis, a manager and treasurer at Fortress Investment Group, and Joseph Adams, the president of FTAI Aviation, both based in New York, were listed under information about the people who would lead the project.

The application said that if conditions were met the transfer would mean that FB Solar would become the indirect parent company of SSB1.

It explained: “FB Solar LLC is a new limited liability company that has been established to buy the design and build of the project.”

The application document said that Fortress Bermuda Holdings was “licensed to carry on business in Bermuda to acquire, invest in, own, operate, manage and divest interests in Bermuda-based infrastructure projects” including docks, industrial operations, transport, bridges and energy.

Business goals listed by the applicant included to “acquire 100 per cent interest in the project to provide reliable, lower cost, renewable power” to customers of an entity, the name of which was redacted, in Bermuda.

A power purchase agreement was earlier struck with electricity company Belco and energy from the solar farm — on a disused runway at the airport called the Finger — started to feed into the grid last November.

Curtis Dickinson, the finance minister, said last June that the infrastructure fund, set up by members of the business sector, had signed a letter of intent to acquire the project for $9.1 million.

He added that Saturn Power struck a deal with Belco to sell the electricity produced at the site to the power company for 20 years.

To comment on the proposed change of control, visit www.ra.bm, click “respond to a consultation” and select the electricity sector.

The consultation will close at 11.59pm next Tuesday.

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published January 07, 2022 at 7:54 am (Updated January 08, 2022 at 8:13 am)

Public input sought on control of airport solar farm

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