Innergex Renewable Energy acquires 315-MW solar project in Texas

Innergex renewable energy solar project

Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. has acquired a sizable 250 MW AC/315 MW DC solar project located in Winkler county, Texas, from Longroad Energy Partners, LLC. Full notice to proceed with construction was issued last week and commercial operation should be reached in the third quarter of 2019. Financial close for the project’s non-recourse construction, term debt and tax equity financing was also reached.

“We are very much looking forward to breaking ground on our largest solar project to date. I am confident that our experience and expertise in developing and managing renewable energy projects will ensure the successful completion of the Phoebe project and demonstrate our commitment to growing our diversified portfolio of assets”, said Michel Letellier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Innergex. “With this acquisition, we are in a good position to provide peak renewable power to the ERCOT market, complementing wind energy production and diversifying our footprint in the state. This acquisition brings us closer to exceeding our goal of achieving net 2,000 MW by 2020 and we intend to continue pursuing development and acquisition opportunities of high-quality renewable energy assets to further generate value for our stakeholders.”

Asset details

The Phoebe photovoltaic solar project consists of First Solar Series 6 thin film modules that will be operated by the panel manufacturer under a 5-year operation and maintenance contract. The installed capacity will be 250 MWAC/315 MWDC and the average annual power generation is expected to reach 738,000 MWh (33.7% AC net capacity factor), enough to power about 53,000 Texas households. The Phoebe solar facility will sell 100% of its output to the ERCOT power grid and receive a fixed price on 89% of its energy produced under a 12-year power purchase agreement with Shell Energy North America, commencing in July 2019. The remainder of the project’s output will receive a merchant market price. The facility will also benefit from the sale of Renewable Energy Certificates in the merchant market to boost its revenues.

attack-the-tariff-300x250

The Project is expecting a projected Adjusted EBITDA of approximately US$20.2 million (C$26.7 million) for 12-month of operations. Following cash distributions to the Tax Equity partner, the distributions receivable by Innergex prior to debt service would be approximately US$13.8 million (C$18.2 million). The project is also eligible to receive a federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) sized to approximately 30% of the project’s capital costs. The ITC will be largely allocated to the Tax Equity partner.

After the seventh year of operations, it is expected that approximately 95% of the projected Adjusted EBITDA, representing about US$19.6 million (C$25.9 million) keeping the same assumptions, would be available for distribution to Innergex prior to debt service.

Innergex is expecting a levered after tax internal rate of return (IRR) in the range of high single digit – low double digits and the facility is expected to be in operations for 35 years and all land rights were negotiated accordingly.

Project costs and sources of funds

Total construction costs are estimated at US$397 million (C$524 million) and will be partly financed in priority through a US$292 million (C$385 million) construction and long-term project financing led by the Energy Finance unit of CIT Group Inc. Innergex will fund its US$105 million (C$139) equity commitment after the debt is fully drawn. This obligation will be supported by the issuance of a letter of credit.

At commercial operation, a subsidiary of Wells Fargo is expected to fund the tax equity investment. This investment will be used to repay the tax equity bridge loan, with the balance being distributed to Innergex.
About Innergex Renewable Energy Inc.

— Solar Builder magazine

Nautilus Solar debuting 13-MW of community solar in Minnesota

Nautilus Solar

Nautilus Solar Energy LLC will be cutting the ribbon on a portfolio of 13.3-MW of community solar projects in, surprise: Minnesota, a leading state for community solar. The solar projects are part of Xcel Energy’s Solar*Rewards Community Program and are 100 percent subscribed by a diverse set of regional customers including five municipalities, two leading research/medical facilities and a local university.

The two community-based solar gardens, located in Rice and Le Sueur Counties, consist of fixed-tilt, ground mount applications. Construction began on both gardens in Q4 2017 and reached commercial operation during Q1 2018. The gardens were acquired by Nautilus from Renesola Ltd. in 2017. A local Roseville, Minn-based solar engineering and construction firm, IPS Solar, provided the installation services for the gardens.

“This community solar milestone extends Nautilus’s vision towards extending a sustainable future for those customers that aren’t able to have large scale solar facilities directly on-premise,” said Jim Rice, CEO of Nautilus Solar Energy, LLC.

“We’re very pleased that our teams completed the acquisition and construction of these projects in a timely manner and are especially appreciative of the hard work that our local permitting, engineering, and installation partners provided to ensure the overall success of these developments,” added Jeffrey Cheng, COO of Nautilus Solar Energy, LLC.

— Solar Builder magazine

PCI Solar develops solar 1.8-MW project at brownfield site in Wasco, Calif.

PCI Solar

PCI Solar has completed construction of a 1.8-MW solar array for the City of Wasco in California. The project, developed by Siemens, is part of California’s RES-BCT program, which allows a local government with one or more eligible renewable generating facilities to export energy to the grid and receive generation credits to benefitting accounts of the same Local Government. The energy from the array will virtually offset some of the energy from various buildings operated by the City of Wasco.

The project is located on a previous landfill site and is a brownfield development. The 1.8 MW of DC power will be provided by (5346) Silfab 345 watt panels and utilize (27) ABB Trio 50 KW inverters. So as not to disturb the soil, the panels were mounted on a GameChange ballasted racking systems and surrounded by a ballasted protective fence.

— Solar Builder magazine

Sky Management installs 600 kW rooftop solar system at N.J.-based Checkpoint Systems

sky management new jersey solar

Sky Management Services and Sky Power sent word of a 600 kW rooftop solar installation at Checkpoint Systems Corporate Headquarters in Thorofare, N.J. Sky Management purchased the 104,000 square foot building in March 2016.

“Checkpoint has made a commitment to continue the global headquarters in Thorofare, NJ. The year long renovation will transform the facility by implementing state of the art technology and an R&D center for the company and markets they serve. The solar project is an important addition to our space and a demonstration of Checkpoint’s commitment to a positive environmental impact,’’ said Doug Ulbrich, Vice President of Facilities Engineering Worldwide at Checkpoint.

The installation is comprised of 1,884 high efficiency solar panels that will offset the majority of Checkpoint’s energy consumption. This directly contributes to Sky’s sustainability initiative, following the operation of a 1.5-megawatt rooftop solar project at WWRD US, LLC part of the Fiskars Group of Companies at 1330 Campus Parkway in Wall Township, NJ. This project came online in January 2017 and provides nearly all of the electrical needs of the facility.

RELATED: Have a great solar project story? Submit it for a Project of the Year award!

Alex Dembitzer, Sky’s Founder and CEO, stated that the addition of solar to the site marks an important milestone for Sky and Checkpoint collectively. In conjunction with a renovation and potential expansion project, there is a serious commitment to the location by both parties.

“We are proud to develop a long-term partnership with Checkpoint and to share the vision of sustainable growth,” said Dembitzer. In addition to this site, Sky has seven Northeast solar projects currently in development. Erich Schwer, Head of Renewables at Sky added, “This project continues our momentum on our renewable energy initiative and is a great addition to our rapidly growing portfolio.” Sky is actively looking to acquire solar projects and continue expansion.

— Solar Builder magazine

Submit your projects to our Project of the Year awards

 

Solar Builder Project of the Year awards

I started to sum up our July/August issue by saying “it’s all about innovation!” and nearly barfed. Ugh. Innovation. You know what I mean? For one, it’s a word overused to the point of being meaningless. But my gag reflex is caused more by the aura around it. Everyone wants to innovate. It is an overly sought-after objective, in my book. So much time is spent trying to innovate that we don’t invest enough time and energy perfecting what’s already working and maintaining what we all actually need. Like, endless funds and brainpower get pumped into building a car that drives itself while the plan for maintaining and improving the infrastructure underneath is left to rot.

Solar innovation is different though. It’s not just innovation for innovation’s sake. Much of the new technology and concepts have the possibility to evolve and strengthen our existing infrastructure.

The most prime example of solar’s practical innovation (SEGUE) is our Project of the Year awards. Past winners have included a large craft brewery trying to be eco-friendly, a school looking for a shading solution, a utility-scale project that provided clean power on tribal land. All of them a refreshing blend of practical problem-solving led by, well, you know what.

Submit your project this year

Any PV project, big or small — we want to hear about it. Was the installation innovative in some way? Did it help a community? Does it just look really awesome? If it stands out, it’ll qualify for our Project of the Year awards. To nominate a project (construction completion date must fall between Oct. 1, 2017 and July 31, 2018):

Step one: Click here.

Step two: Fill out the form by Aug. 31, 2018.

That’s it. From there we compile the entries and put them up for an online vote in the following categories:

  • Residential (pending enough submissions)
  • Commercial & Industrial
  • Utility-scale
  • Solar + Storage

Projects with the most votes win each category, but ALL nominees are also eligible for Editor’s Choice awards. All winners are then featured in our year-end magazine and on the site. Head here for more details and to enter.

— Solar Builder magazine