Solar power is the third-largest source of renewable energy in America. There is enough installed solar across the country to keep the lights on in more than 13 million homes, and the industry has put more than 231,000 Americans to work. But the solar industry is not done growing, and a new acquisition by Koch Industries signals a particularly significant expansion for this renewable energy source.
Koch Engineered Solutions LLC (KES), a unit of Koch Industries Inc. (Koch), recently announced the company’s acquisition of DEPCOM Power Inc. (DEPCOM). DEPCOM is an engineering procurement and construction firm. DEPCOM’s specialty is building utility-scale solar power plants and managing the ongoing operations, maintenance, and refurbishment services such a plant needs.
This acquisition is the first time KES has entered the renewable energy generation space, and the timing could not be better. Koch Industries has always prided itself on innovation, and that is what is needed to grow and perfect the use of solar as a primary energy resource. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that solar electricity generation will grow from 3 percent of the U.S. generation mix in 2020 to 14 percent by 2035. To actually achieve an estimated jump of that size will require companies with the right solutions and expertise to make it happen.
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Discussing its entry into the renewable energy space, Koch Engineered Solutions cited “the cost-competitiveness of utility‐scale solar on an unsubsidized basis, causing it to become an increasingly significant part of the generation mix over time; growing energy usage among businesses and households; and continued consumer preference for renewable electricity,” as reasons behind the acquisition. KES businesses specialize in process and pollution control equipment that helps industrial facilities operate responsibly. This makes them a natural partner with DEPCOM, as noted by Dave Dotson, president of KES:
“The DEPCOM acquisition is consistent with KES’s vision to deliver innovative, mutually beneficial technical and service solutions for industrial value chains while simultaneously transforming our business to improve and create new industry platforms. Through our complementary capabilities, we can offer greater opportunities for our customers who are seeking solutions in this increasingly important and competitive space.”
Johnnie Taul, CEO of DEPCOM, is excited about the doors such a partnership will open:
“By joining KES, we are combining forces and shared values, and leveraging robust capabilities and knowledge centers that will accelerate our ability to enhance our existing services and expand our offerings into new service lines and markets. Together, we will further our mission to be the solutions provider of choice for our customers in the energy industry.”
The renewable energy industry needs innovative solutions. We’ve seen tremendous progress in solar energy generation and use, but that progress will stall without creative problem solving and new technological solutions to the challenges the industry faces in expanding the reach and efficiency of solar energy. To reach industry projections, solar needs both industry know-how and an innovative spirit willing to make it happen. That is exactly what Koch and DEPCOM working together will bring to the table. DEPCOM’s portfolio already includes approximately 5 gigawatts of projects in completed, in-construction, and preconstruction stages across America. With KES backing, that portfolio is set to grow.
Kelvey Vander Hart is a native Iowan, a member of the American Conservation Coalition, and a communications specialist at Reason Foundation.