Business & Real Estate

CalPERS makes big California solar investment

A view of Desert Sunlight’s solar farm near Palm Springs
A view of Desert Sunlight’s solar farm near Palm Springs

CalPERS said Wednesday that it’s buying a significant stake in a solar energy company with operations near Palm Springs.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System said it has agreed to buy up to 25 percent of Desert Sunlight Investment Holdings, which owns two big solar generation facilities near Palm Springs.

The price wasn’t disclosed. But previous deals suggest it was substantial: Last June, a 25 percent share of Desert Sunlight was sold to a New Jersey company called NRG Yield Inc. for $285 million, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

The two solar plants, opened in late 2014, sell their energy to California utilities via long-term contracts.

“Desert Sunlight presents a great opportunity for CalPERS, allowing us to invest both in California and in clean renewable energy,” said CalPERS Chief Operating Officer Ted Eliopoulos in a prepared statement. “Infrastructure has been one of our best performing programs and is an important part of the CalPERS portfolio.”

The pension fund has devoted $2.3 billion to invest in various infrastructure projects.

CalPERS is buying the Desert Sunlight stake from Sumitomo Corp. of Americas, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate.

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler