Intersect Power LLC has begun commercial operations of its Oberon Solar + Storage project in Riverside County, California. The Oberon project generates 679 MWp/500 MWac of solar energy and features 250 MW/1 GWh of co-located storage.
The Oberon project aligns with the priorities of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) by using American-made equipment and paying prevailing wages. The project was built with First Solar modules from Ohio, NX Horizon smart solar trackers from Nextracker, and American-made structural steel. More than 930 skilled union jobs were created at peak construction with California’s LiUNA Local 1184, IBEW Local 440 and others, prioritizing local area hire. The co-located 1 GWh of storage was built with batteries from Tesla’s battery facility in Lathrop, California.
“The Oberon project is much more than a new source of clean power for California. It is also a case study in how the clean energy industry can maximize project benefits by prioritizing domestic supply chains and union labor to ensure the rewards of the clean energy transition are felt by all Americans,” said Intersect Power CEO Sheldon Kimber. “This project demonstrates that Intersect continues to pioneer procurement standards for our industry that live up to the vision of the IRA and deliver transformative clean energy projects that move the needle on the deep decarbonization of our economy.”
The Oberon project is the first to achieve operation through the streamlined approach under the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. The landmark plan was the result of six years of collaboration between the federal government, conservation groups, Native American tribes, the renewable energy industry, utilities, and members of the public, and it designated over 10 million acres of conservation and recreation lands in the southern California desert while centering renewable energy development in designated Development Focus Areas.
“The completion of the Oberon Solar Project underscores the Bureau of Land Management’s commitment to responsible energy development in pursuit of a carbon free power sector,” said BLM California State Director, Karen Mouritsen. “This project is another example of the Bureau’s steadfast commitment to the furtherance of renewable energy and prioritizing a healthier planet.”
Energy, Renewable Energy Credits and Resource Adequacy generated by the Oberon project will be purchased by a combination of offtakers including Calpine Energy Solutions, Constellation, Ava Community Energy (formerly East Bay Community Energy), Microsoft, and San Diego Community Power.
Intersect secured funding for the project’s construction as part of the broader portfolio financing announced last September, when the company closed on portfolio level term debt, tax equity, and construction financing commitments from leading financial institutions and investors.
The portfolio term debt was provided by certain funds and accounts managed by HPS Investment Partners, and other Co-Investors. The Tax Equity was provided by Morgan Stanley Renewables Inc. and U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance. Construction debt was provided by Coordinating Lead Arrangers MUFG and Santander Corporate & Investment Banking, along with CoBank, KeyBanc Capital Markets, Helaba, Bank of America, Zions Capital Markets and Nord LB as Joint Lead Arrangers and SuMi TRUST as a participant.
Intersect and its partners were represented by the following counsel and advisors on the deals: Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP represented Intersect as lead counsel and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as Intersect’s special tax counsel; CCA Capital LLC advised IP on the tax equity transactions; Greenberg Traurig served as counsel to U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance; and Winston & Strawn LLP served as counsel to the construction lenders.
— Solar Builder magazine