Closing includes $58.5 million in green loan construction financing and an additional $62.5 million in tax fairness commitments, including $50 million to come once the project is operational later this summer.
Leeward Renewable Energy announced that it has closed financing for the company’s ongoing Rabbitbrush Solar project, located in Kern County, California.
The financing includes $58.5 million in green loan construction financing from Wells Fargo, MUFG and Silicon Valley Bank and secured an additional $62.5 million in tax fairness commitments from JP Morgan, including $50 million dollars of this tax fairness commitment should occur once the project is operational.
“We are delighted to have secured financing for the Rabbitbrush facility, which will be Leeward’s first financing for a solar and BESS facility,” commented Chris Loehr, Leeward’s Chief Financial Officer. “This is the first of many solar and BESS LRE financings to come as we build the pipeline under contract in 2022 and 2023. We appreciate the strong support from our uptake partners and participating financial institutions, and we look forward to work together throughout the life cycle. of the Rabbitbrush project.
The date of commercial exploitation should be reached in August. Construction on the project has been underway since October 2021, according to a construction update proposed by McCarthy Building Companies in January 2022. The project will include more than 415,000 First Solar thin-film photovoltaic modules, as well as a 20 MW, The 50 MWh battery energy storage system and construction is expected to create some 300 new union jobs, with additional long-term jobs to come after completion.
According to the company, McCarthy and its partners are working closely with groups in the area, including the indigenous Tejon Indian tribe, to ensure respect for the area and its people throughout the construction process.
Central Coast Community Energy and Silicon Valley Clean Energy have both signed to buy output from the project through 15-year power purchase agreements.
Leeward originally acquired the Rabbitbrush project from First Solar, in a deal where the module maker sold its 10GW utility-scale solar project platform to Leeward in a $261 million deal. of dollars.
The agreement includes the Rabbitbrush, Madison, Oak Trail, Horizon and Ridgely projects, which are expected to begin construction within the next two years, and the 30 MW Barilla Solar project, which is operational. The project pipeline includes projects in the California, Southwest and Southeast markets. The sale of the platform is the result of a strategic review announced by First Solar last year, CEO Mark Widmar said. The sale is part of a transition that aims to allow the company to focus on scaling, developing and selling module technology.
As part of the deal, Leeward has also agreed to purchase 650MW of First Solar’s 6-series solar PV modules for its additional development opportunities. The Leeward acquisition includes purchase orders for 888 MW of Series 6 modules for the five development projects.
Leeward is a holding company of OMERS Infrastructure, an investment arm of OMERS, one of Canada’s largest social benefit pension plans.
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