Babcock & Wilcox acquiring Illinois-based solar project builder

In another strong sign of the times, longtime conventional power equipment supplier Babcock & Wilcox is strengthening its move into renewable energy technologies with the acquisition of a solar construction firm.

Ohio-based boilermarker B&W has agreed to buy a majority stake in Fosler Construction Co., a 20-year-old contractor firm based in Illinois. CEO Paul Fosler will continue to lead the team and own a minority share in the solar contractor company, which will be part of B&W’s renewable segment.

Fosler Construction provides commercial, industrial and utility-scale solar services and owns two community solar projects in Illinois being developed under the Illinois Solar for All program. Founded in 1998 and employing approximately 120 people, it recently ranked in the top 10 percent of Inc. 5000’s listing of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of this month.

“This transaction aligns with B&W’s aggressive growth and expansion of our clean and renewable energy businesses,” said Kenneth Young, B&W Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Fosler Construction is an established leader in the commercial and utility solar business, and we’re excited about the many opportunities we see to work together to capitalize on a North American solar market that is expected to have a high rate of growth over the next five years.”

Research firm Mordor Intelligence has forecast that the U.S. solar energy market will grow by 17.3 percent per year over the next few years, essentially doubling in size by 2025. The industry declined by double-digits last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacts, but is generally predicted to rally quickly, with Wood Mackenzie anticipating 324 GW of installed capacity by 2030.

Fosler Construction has built more than 100 operational solar installations in Illinois and also has active projects in New York, Virginia and Maryland.

“We’re proud of the work we’ve done and the great team of employees at Fosler who will continue to be a critical part of our success going forward,” CEO Paul Fosler said. “We believe this transaction will help propel our growth to take advantage of the significant solar installation pipeline we have on the near-term horizon.”

Babcock & Wilcox, founded some 150 years ago, has traditionally worked in the thermal generation sector while moving strong into renewables in recent years. B&W provided boilers, other steam generation equipment, construction and field services, as well as environmental emissions technologies.

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