Cox Enterprises makes $250M investment in solar company

DSD Renewables of New York develops major solar arrays for commercial and industrial businesses and governmental agencies
A DSD Renewables solar installation in White Plains, N.Y. Photo courtesy of DSD Renewables

Credit: special

Credit: special

A DSD Renewables solar installation in White Plains, N.Y. Photo courtesy of DSD Renewables

Cox Enterprises is expanding its holdings in clean energy technology with a $250 million investment in a New York company that builds and finances solar power arrays.

Sandy Springs-based Cox said Tuesday it has taken a minority stake in DSD Renewables, which largely serves commercial and industrial businesses, as well as local governments. The company also deploys electric vehicle charging stations and energy storage systems, essentially large battery networks, to store solar power for use when the sun isn’t shining.

Solar power is emerging as a significant and affordable source of energy that does not contribute greenhouse gas emissions. Many utilities, corporations and governments are deploying solar, either on rooftops, parking lots or in massive solar arrays to help diversify their energy portfolio, lower costs, improve resiliency and reduce carbon footprints.

President Joe Biden’s signature climate and health care law, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, is expected to further induce continued development of renewable power sources, with significant incentives for solar power.

Major retailers such as Ikea and Home Depot have hired DSD to deploy solar power at their stores.

Will Thorburn, an executive with Cox Cleantech, said Cox is looking for investments in companies that improve environmental sustainability while also operating strong and sustainable businesses.

The investment in DSD, he said, is part of a mission “to support growth in companies that we think are doing really great things in the world and in turn can be really great parts of the Cox portfolio now and into the future.”

DSD has raised more than $2 billion in investor funding since 2019 and is majority owned by a fund managed by the climate infrastructure business of financial giant BlackRock. The Cox investment will help support the company’s growth as it powers through a backlog of orders.

“This significant investment from Cox marks a pivotal milestone for DSD, enabling our continued evolution to becoming an influential market leader,” Erik Schiemann, CEO at DSD, said in a news release. “Our growth, initially fueled by BlackRock’s faith in us, now enters a new chapter with Cox that will advance our position as a cleantech leader and scale our business. This partnership is a testament to how far we’ve come and our unwavering commitment to accelerating renewable energy solutions deployment.”

Cox is one of the nation’s largest privately owned companies. Its holdings include broadband giant Cox Communications, Cox Automotive and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In recent years, Cox has diversified its holdings by investing in cleantech companies, agriculture and health care. Cox said Tuesday its investment in DSD is its largest to date in renewable energy sources.