Sumitomo acquires WA’s leading solar retailer Infinite Energy

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Perth-based solar energy and electricity retailer Infinite Energy has been bought by Tokyo-based Sumitomo Corporation, in a sign of a global shift towards renewables and confidence in Western Australian (WA) solar marketplace.

According to Infinite Energy Managing Director, Aidan Jenkins, it was the right time for the sale of the business, and a logical step in the future growth of the company.

Established nearly a decade ago, Infinite Energy installs and sells distributed solar power systems as well as battery storage and EV charging infrastructure, and engages in electricity retailing. Namely, the company has a solar asset business whereby it owns and operates solar energy systems at clients’ premises and retails the energy from those systems.

Infinite Energy is known as the largest retailer of solar energy systems in WA and the fourth largest in Australia.

“We see the acquisition by Sumitomo as not only a huge vote of confidence in Infinite Energy, but in the worldwide transition to renewable energy which is in full swing in Australia. The new ownership structure will provide Infinite with a platform to accelerate this process” Jenkins said.

The 100% acquisition by Sumitomo is expected to allow Infinite Energy to accelerate the expansion of its solar business throughout Australia, build on its diversified set of distributed energy products and grow its electricity retailing arm in WA.

Infinite Energy was one of the partners on a WA project launched last year with the aim to introduce 10-year solar leases framed as power purchasing agreements. Under the program, the installation of residential solar PV system comes with no upfront cost at all under an attractive 10-year contract – compared to previously available PPA or solar lease contracts that run for around 20 years.

The 100% acquisition was carried out via Sumitomo’s wholly-owned subsidiary Summit Southern Cross Power Holdings for an undisclosed sum.

“We are very excited to welcome such an innovative distributed energy business into Sumitomo’s global energy portfolio. Energy markets around the world are in a rapid transition to clean, renewable generation and the Infinite Energy acquisition recognizes this,” Sumitomo said in a comment.

The acquisition will also be a breath of fresh air for the entire WA electricity market, which is known for the state government-owned Synergy’s dominant position on both the retail and generation sides of the market.

Sumitomo said that the purchase was motivated by an anticipated “robust increase in electric power demand” in Australia, driven by growing population and electric vehicle uptake, as well as the booming rooftop solar market.

“Bringing its considerable corporate resources to Infinite Energy’s existing business operations, Sumitomo will help construct a platform for electricity retailing that utilizes distributed solar power generation and battery storage in Australia,” Sumitomo said in a statement.

“It will also leverage the Sumitomo Corporation Group’s wealth of business line know-how and networks to create new business domains that combine electric power with other businesses.”

Sumitomo acquired business interests in the coal and gas-powered Kwinana Power Plant in 2009 and the coal-fired Bluewaters Power Plant in 2013, making it an important player in Australia’s electricity generation business. These two power plants supply about 30% of the electric power used by Western Australia’s power grid, enough to power about 800,000 households.

The Japanese giant also has interests in significant renewable energy assets around the world.