The Canadian solar industry has seen a steady stream of mergers and acquisitions over the past decade, but it’s been slow to move beyond its niche.
With a few notable exceptions, most of these deals have been in the form of small-scale manufacturing operations, or in the case of the Japanese firm SoftBank, manufacturing giant Hitachi.
But in the last few years, things have started to take off.
The companies that have emerged as the top names in the industry include Hitachi, SunPower, Sunrun, Sunpower Canada, and TerraPower.
That’s thanks in large part to a trio of Canadian players.
The biggest is SunPower Canada, whose CEO, Rick Van Den Berg, has a proven track record in manufacturing and the solar industry.
His company has a strong track record of manufacturing and supplying solar modules to the Canadian market, including a successful partnership with the federal government in 2013 that resulted in the signing of the Clean Energy Accord.
SunPower also sells panels to companies in China, Japan, and Australia, and the company recently announced a deal to sell its panels to the likes of GE in the U.S. Van Den Berge is a staunch advocate of the solar energy business model, and he has been actively involved in the Canadian solar sector since 2009.
“We’ve done some good things with the government of Canada on the ground in Canada and we’re excited about where the industry is headed,” he told The Globe and Mail.
Sunpower’s largest customer is Canada’s Natural Resources Canada, which has been working closely with SunPower to secure solar power contracts.
In 2014, the company purchased a controlling stake in the solar manufacturer SolarPower Canada.
The purchase has resulted in SunPower having access to several large power generation projects, including one of the world’s largest solar plants, which it will begin operating next year.
Sunrun is also active in the sector, and it recently announced an agreement with Hitachi to purchase solar power projects from SunPower.
Van den Berg said the deal is an example of Sunrun’s willingness to diversify and “to go where the market is going.”
In fact, Van den Berge told The Atlantic that his company is “going to go where solar is going” by building its own battery and storage projects in partnership with Japanese technology company Hitachi in order to “make the market competitive.”
Sunrun has also partnered with Sunrun to build solar arrays on private land in New Brunswick.
The company is looking to invest in solar power systems in the future, including solar energy projects that will eventually provide power to homes.
Sunrise Capital Partners, an investment firm based in Vancouver, is also involved in buying solar power in Canada, as is TerraPower, which was founded in 2001 and now has facilities in more than 50 countries.
Both companies have been investing heavily in the energy sector in recent years, with TerraPower currently investing more than $1 billion in solar projects across Canada and the U, and Sunrun already building a solar array near Edmonton.
Sunstar is currently building solar panels in Ontario, and in 2018, it announced plans to build the largest solar power project in North America, the first of its kind in North American history.
Sunspot also recently completed a deal with the U of T to build a project in Guelph, Ontario, which will be connected to the Ontario Power Generation grid and provide power in excess of 20,000 homes with 100 megawatts of solar energy.
Sun Power Canada has invested heavily in solar, as well, and its investments in solar plants have increased over the last year.
The U.K.-based company has built more than 150 solar farms in North and South America, and more than 400 solar energy towers have been installed across the globe.
Sun-Power’s solar projects are now generating more than a quarter of its electricity, and with its recent acquisition of SolarCity, Sun Power has established itself as a major player in the power sector in Canada.
Sunstream, a company that manufactures solar panels and other components, was formed in 2007, and has been a leader in the manufacturing sector since then.
It recently announced plans for a solar project in Manitoba, and plans to expand into the United States and Europe.
Sunwind, which makes modules and panels for solar power, also has a growing presence in Canada over the years, including an ambitious solar project at the UBC Solar Institute.
SunWind is a company with a strong record in the manufacture of solar modules and has made strides in the global solar sector over the previous few years.
In 2011, Sunwind announced plans of an $8.5-billion solar project on the Ute Nation in northern Alberta, which the company said would provide “more than 100 megawatt hours of electricity.”
The project will be the first to be built on the entire Canadian continent.
Sunwing also recently announced it was purchasing a significant stake in Sunpower, which owns about half of Sunwind’s solar assets in the country.
Sun Wind’s investments have included