GE Solar, a consulting business with about 60 employees, has been incubated within GE since 2012. The unit, which doesn’t make solar panels, focuses on “solar and storage solutions for the commercial, industrial, and public sectors.” GE had explored solar-panel manufacturing but sold its technology to First Solar Inc. in 2013. GE fell 1.5% to $10.23 at 10:42 a.m. in New York, while BlackRock slid 1.5% to $470.13.
Once RiskyBlackRock’s Real Assets unit, which has more than $50 billion in client commitments, started its renewable-power platform in 2012. The GE deal comes as investors begin prioritizing a solar segment that was once viewed as riskier than developments for utilities or homeowners: projects for commercial and industrial customers.
Part of the impetus is money, as smaller solar farms offer returns that can be more than 2% higher than big projects.It’s also a matter of availability and supply. Large institutional investors have dominated recent auctions for utility-scale developments, crowding out other would-be buyers. And states including California have committed to rid their grids of emissions, encouraging more renewables developments. By Richard Clough and Brian Eckhouse