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UPDATE 1-Orsted joins auction for German solar firm ib vogt - sources

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FRANKFURT, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Denmark’s Orsted, the world’s largest offshore wind farm operator, has joined the race to buy German solar project firm ib vogt, two people familiar with the matter said, in a sign that competition for renewable assets is heating up.

Deutsche Bank-owned wealth manager DWS and Canada’s Northland Power are also still trying to buy ib vogt, which is led by former Q-Cells CEO Anton Milner, the people said.

Based on estimated 2020 core earnings, a deal could value ib vogt - which has a photovoltaic pipeline of more than 16 gigawatts (GW) - at about 360 million euros ($419 million), one of the people said.

Orsted, ib vogt and DWS declined to comment. Northland Power did not respond to requests for comment.

Founded in 2002, ib vogt secured 135 million euros in September from U.S.-based investor EIG Global Energy Partners.

Earlier this year, ib vogt’s owner DVV hired Marathon Capital to look for a buyer.

Orsted’s interest comes as utilities and oil majors are vying to boost their renewables businesses in a bid to move away from fossil fuels and meet climate targets.

On Monday, Statkraft bought Britain’s Solarcentury for 117.7 million pounds ($152 million), which will give the Norwegian power firm access to 6 GW of projects in Europe and South America.

RWE, Europe’s third-largest renewables player by installed capacity, in July acquired a 2.7 GW renewables pipeline from wind turbine maker Nordex.

Orsted, which is majority-owned by the Danish government, is close to completing its shift from a fossil fuel-based utility to a green energy company.

It plans to invest $30 billion over the next decade to become what it calls a “renewable major” and has started diversifying into other areas, including onshore wind and solar.

($1 = 0.8587 euros)

$1 = 0.7735 pounds Additional reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Copenhagen; editing by Thomas Seythal and Mark Potter