A blog on using the power of Disruptive Business Models to build successful businesses...and other stuff. by Joe Agliozzo

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sale of Largest Solar Distributor in North America - Closed

This is the deal we worked on for 18 months - now going full bore on solar finance!

Acquisition Gives ITOCHU Largest Solar Distribution Network in the U.S.
April 13, 2009

New York: April 13, 2009 -- ITOCHU Corporation, jointly with ITOCHU International Inc. (collectively, ITOCHU), has agreed to acquire the business of SolarNet LLC, a solar energy solutions provider that includes DC Power Systems, the largest privately-held wholesale distributor of solar energy systems in the US, and Stellar Energy Solutions. ITOCHU has been actively implementing a global solar energy strategy since 2006 and has made a number of strategic investments, including the acquisition of California-based wholesale distributor and systems integrator Solar Depot in 2007. With the acquisition of SolarNet, the combined market share of Solar Depot and DC Power will give ITOCHU collectively the largest solar distribution network in the US. SolarNet will be operated as a majority-owned subsidiary of ITOCHU, beginning immediately. While the current management and employees will be retained, ITOCHU personnel will be added to strengthen the capability of SolarNet.

ITOCHU also supplies manufacturing equipment to solar module manufacturers globally and is involved in the systems integration, financing and development of solar energy projects in various countries. Observing the rapid growth in the solar industry, ITOCHU recently centralized all its solar energy related business into a new business department in order to provide a stronger and more streamlined approach to executing its solar energy business.

“ITOCHU is pleased to add the substantial business experience and capabilities of DC Power and Stellar Energy Solutions to our rapidly growing solar energy business activities in the US market and around the world,” said Harutoshi Okita, Senior Vice President, ITOCHU International Inc. “This acquisition expands our presence in the US distribution market and extends our capabilities with regard to the development of large-scale solar systems.”

ITOCHU expects this development to result in an improved product offering and level of service for solar dealers and customers across the country, making world-class solar solutions available at the most competitive prices. The acquisition also positions ITOCHU as a leading integrator of commercial-scale solar power systems, with a project pipeline of over 80MW across the US.

“SolarNet’s partnership with ITOCHU will give our companies the resources to execute our aggressive business plan and continue to provide outstanding customer service in a rapidly growing business. We are excited to have a partner with such a long-term vision and global reach,” said Joseph Marino, President of SolarNet. Mr. Marino will continue with SolarNet after the acquisition as a member of the Board and as Founder.

ITOCHU will actively expand SolarNet’s business throughout the US market by building on its existing solar energy business activity and utilizing its global business network to add value to SolarNet. Through these efforts, ITOCHU expects its growing solar operations to accelerate the adoption of solar power in the US.

Minority owners of SolarNet and Board Members include Chris Tyson and Mark Sampson, who will focus on providing financing services to the company and solar industry (www.energyfinancecompany.com and www.newedgesolar.com).

ITOCHU Corporation is a diverse global trading company headquartered in Tokyo with annual revenues of more than $28.5 billion in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2008. Founded more than 150 years ago, ITOCHU consistently posts global trading transactions of over $100 billion every year. With more than 150 offices in more than 70 countries, ITOCHU Corporation operates over 700 domestic and overseas subsidiaries and affiliates involved in a wide array of industries, including technology, energy, media,
telecommunications, aerospace, electronic machinery, textiles, food products, finance, real estate,
insurance and logistics services.
For more information on ITOCHU Corporation, please contact
https://www.support.itochu.co.jp/main/ssl/coy/inquiry_other/inq_other_e.html or visit the ITOCHU
websites at www.itochu.co.jp/main/index_e.html and www.itochu.com.

About SolarNet
SolarNet™ facilitates solar energy solutions by fostering collaborations between solar contractors, engineers, architects, investors and energy users. By utilizing Solar Service Agreements (SSA), innovative financial contracts that pair solar investors with energy users, SolarNet makes large-scale solar solutions accessible to more corporate and government clients. For more information, please contact David Michalek at david@dcpower-systems.com or visit the SolarNet website at www.solarnet.us.

About DC Power Systems
DC Power Systems is the largest privately-held wholesale distributor of solar energy systems in the US. Established in 2000 in Healdsburg, CA, the company has grown rapidly and is a full-service provider to over 1,000 dealers throughout California, the US and Latin America. DC Power serves residential and commercial markets through four warehouses coast-to-coast. DC Power offers in-house design, engineering and installation support to its SolarNet™ dealers. The company's world-class technical expertise encompasses a broad range of technologies allowing adoption of the most site-appropriate products. DC Power also offers small-scale wind turbine systems.

More information on DC Power Systems: www.dcpower-systems.com

About Stellar Energy Systems
Established in 2004, Stellar Energy is a leading solar system integrator with comprehensive services including project financing, engineering and installation management. Recently, Stellar, SolarNet and Sharp collaborated to design and construct the largest solar installation at a winery and one of the largest in California – a combined 2.8MW owned by Foster’s Wine Estates.

More information on Stellar Energy Solutions: www.stellarenergy.com

About Solar Depot
Solar Depot is a wholesale distributor and systems integrator of solar electric and solar thermal systems. For over 30 years, Solar Depot has been designing and supplying solar energy systems for residential, commercial and industrial applications, making Solar Depot among the largest and most experienced solar integrators in the United States. Solar Depot serves its customers through three full-service facilities in California, located in Petaluma (corporate headuarters), Sacramento and Corona. For more information, please contact Kevin Shimokobe at kevin-s@solardepot.com or visit Solar Depot’s website at www.solardepot.com.

Media Contact at ITOCHU International Inc:

Michael Solomon: Michael.Solomon@itochu.com, (212) 818-8083 or (914) 960-2368

Source: ITOCHU International Inc.