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Meridian sells US solar plant for undisclosed sum

Meridian Energy [NZX: MEL], the country's largest listed power company, sold its Californian solar plant for an undisclosed sum, wrapping up its exit from the US energy market.

The Wellington-based company sold its CalRENEW-1 plant to California-based SunEdison, it said in a statement. The plant was the biggest asset of Meridian's US subsidiary, which owed the parent $27 million in related party loans as at June 30 last year. Meridian wore a $2 million impairment charge on the loan in the 2013 financial year, having written down the loan by $27.4 million a year earlier.

"Since a decision was made to exit the US market to focus on our operations in New Zealand and Australia, we have been working hard to wind up and sell all of the parts of our US subsidiary," Meridian general manager external relations Guy Waipara said. "This knowledge about utility-scale solar and its possibilities is reflected in the focus we have on promoting solar with our customers for residential and commercial use in New Zealand."

In February, Meridian reported a 6 percent increase in underlying earnings to $83 million, beating the forecast in last year's offer document, with high inflows to hydro-lakes swelling its generation in the period.

The company's instalment receipts, which convert to ordinary shares in May 2015, fell 0.8 percent to $1.20, and have gained 16 percent this year.


Comments and questions

So, it would appear, Meridian have lost money on this solar adventure even though it benefited from the huge subsidies for solar energy that, in the USA, are extracted from the consumers.

At the same time, the Vector in New Zealand is selling solar energy systems at what must be a huge loss – also imposed in its consumers.

We now live in a world that is not warmed for 17 years and is probably cooling. We can be sure that man-made carbon dioxide does not cause dangerous global warming. Therefore there is no benefit from expensive wind and solar power in grid connected systems.

Let us get rid of this nonsense as soon as possible.