Despite claims by the company and automatic acceptance by the mainstream media, SunEdison’s position as the ‘world's largest renewable energy developer’ almost came to fruition in 2015.
The meteoric rise, initially dedicated to solar PV power plant construction really took off in 2013 when the company completed over 500MW of projects. Leading the sector had been the likes of First Solar and SunPower, all with projects predominantly in the US.
Although SunEdison doubled project completions (1,048MW) in 2014, it remained behind its two US rivals.
The breakthrough year was planned to be in 2015, having initially indicated project completions that included wind for the first time that could exceed 2,000MW. As its acquisition trail (see below) gained momentum project completions were expected to exceed 3,000MW, which if the company had not hit liquidity issues in the second-half of the year, would have become the world’s largest solar PV energy developer, though doubts on achieving the prize as the world's largest renewable energy developer would have persisted, due to some wind sector companies that had also developed solar, hydro electric and geothermal projects.
However, in reporting third quarter 2015 financial results, curtailment of project completions was already underway. SunEdison revised down all project completions for the full-year within a range of 2.15GW to 2.25GW.
More recently, it became clear that liquidity issues had worsened and projects in Hawaii and India, some previously expected to be completed in 2015 had failed to secure sufficient funding to start, continue construction or complete and grid connect.
Although the company has entered chapter 11 bankruptcy - critical to its future during such proceedings - SunEdison has secured US$300 million in DIP funding from investors. The sum is close to a figure that would possibly allow the company to carryout enough project completions through 2016 and sufficient liquidity for operations to exit bankruptcy down the line.
However, such is the complexity of SunEdison’s financial operations, law suits and debts, not least the position of its two yield co businesses that expectations at this point of a quick exit seem remote.
Essential to SunEdison is maintaining credibility of project execution and financial management during chapter 11 proceedings as its ability to secure low-cost financing after a successful bankruptcy exit would seriously undermine its chances of survival.
The rise and fall and much in between
Ahmad Chatila becomes president and CEO of SunEdison and a member of the Board of Directors.
23 October 2009
CEO Ahmad Chatila announces that “[the company] will now participate in the actual development of solar power plants and commercialization of clean energy, in addition to supply the solar and semiconductor industries with our traditional silicon wafer products.”
24 May 2010
SunEdison acquires crystal growth technology company Solacix for US$76 million.
25 May 2010
SunEdison and private equity firm First Reserve announce US$167 million joint venture to finance, build and operate PV projects.
“The industry needs efficient and scalable financing models to meet demand. We expect the joint venture to help facilitate the development of our existing backlog of project opportunities and prospective projects that meet our development criteria,” Carlos Domenech, former president of SunEdison, said in a statement.
SunEdison changes its stock market ticker from “WFR” to “SUNE”, reflecting the company’s new focus on solar energy.
SunEdison launches spin-off semiconductor business IPO, SunEdison Semiconductor Ltd, generating US$94 million.
Yieldco subsidiary TerraForm Power goes public with an initial portfolio of 524MW of solar farms in the US, Canada, Chile and the UK. It begins trading in an IPO and raises US$50.6 million with proceeds used for expenses and to buy projects from SunEdison and other companies.
21 August 2014
SunEdison announces closure of US$160 million fund for distributed generation projects in the US with Barclays and Citi.
“SunEdison is pioneering new financing structures and cutting-edge solar offerings with top tier partners,” said Ryan Bennett, vice president of Project Finance, North America at SunEdison.
SunEdison announces new technology; zero white space (ZWS) and high-pressure fluidised bed reactor (HP-FBR) technology.
SunEdison’s TerraForm buys $250 million worth of solar farms.
14 October 2014
SunEdison amends letter of Credit Facility to US$800 million from US$400 million for credit commitments and future increases.
6 November 2014
SunEdison reports a quarterly loss that was double company estimates, despite cash and equivalents rising to 31%. Net losses were counted at US$283.4 million.
14 November 2014
SunEdison, engineering institution Anna University, sign a memorandum of understanding to develop solar technology in India.
17 November 2014
TerraFrom Power and SunEdison announce plans to purchase US wind developer First Wind for US$2.4 billion.