Longroad energy closes financing for Arizona solar + storage project | Solar Financing Spotlight

Solar Financing Spotlight

In this installment of the Solar Financing Spotlight, we look at Longroad Energy’s newest solar + storage project in Arizona, while Sol Systems and Box Power secure financing and Standard Solar acquires a new portfolio.  

Longroad Energy announced the financial close of Serrano, its 220 MWdc solar and 214 MWac / 855 MWh storage project in Pinal and Pima counties, Arizona. Serrano is the company’s first project to use First Solar’s U.S. manufactured Series 7 panels. The project construction is under way and commercial operations is expected by mid-2025.

The output of the Serrano project will be purchased by Arizona Public Service (APS) via a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). The project will generate enough electricity to power roughly 61,000 Arizona homes, and will support grid reliability, particularly during Arizona’s hot summer months.

“Longroad is pleased that our Serrano project has achieved the milestones of financial closure and commencement of construction,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of Longroad Energy. “We are proud to support American manufacturing and the domestic solar supply chain as we expand our solar footprint in the robust Arizona market, which now surpasses 1.5 GW of operating or under construction projects.”

Serrano represents the continuation of a longstanding partnership between U.S.-based solar manufacturer First Solar and Longroad. The project is the fourth in Arizona using First Solar’s responsibly produced modules that Longroad has financed in four years, and Longroad’s first to use thin-film Series 7 modules.

“We congratulate Longroad on progressing this Arizona project, which will be enabled by American-made solar technology and, as a result, directly support U.S. manufacturing and jobs,” said Georges Antoun, chief commercial officer at First Solar. “That Longroad has successfully closed financing is a testament to the bankability of the project and the solar module technology powering it.”

Debt financing was led by CIBC and Societe Generale and included ANZ, PNC, Commerzbank AG, and U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance. CIBC acted as Coordinating Lead Arranger, Administrative Agent, Collateral Agent, and Green Loan Coordinator. Societe Generale acted as Coordinating Lead Arranger. U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance served as Joint Lead Arranger and Depositary Bank. Athene Annuity and Life Insurance Company, an affiliate of Apollo Global Management, is the project’s tax equity investor and was advised by Apterra Infrastructure Capital.

McCarthy Building Companies (McCarthy) is the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor on Serrano. The Serrano project is the fourth large-scale solar facility in Arizona being built by McCarthy for Longroad and is expected to employ over 300 people during the construction process. McCarthy is utilizing registered apprentices and will be paying prevailing wage to all workers on the project, in accordance with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

“Working with a partner who shares our team’s goals for establishing reliable and sustainable energy infrastructure accessible to all has been instrumental in finding innovative solutions to project challenges and streamlining the planning and development process,” said Dan Brown, senior VP of operations with McCarthy’s Renewable Energy team.

Serrano’s 214 MWac / 855 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) will be provided by U.S.-based energy storage platform provider Powin. The BESS will include SMA inverters and cells from AESC, which will be integrated into Powin’s Modular and Scalable CentipedeTM Energy Storage Platform. Longroad, in conjunction with Powin and NovaSource Power Services, will provide long-term operations and maintenance services for the BESS.

Nextracker is supplying trackers for the project and Sungrow is supplying the solar inverters. Comprehensive operations and maintenance services for the project will be provided by NovaSource Power Services and Longroad’s affiliate Longroad Energy Services.

Sol Systems raises $250 million for Eldorado project in Illinois 

Sol Systems has secured $250 million in financing for its landmark Eldorado project in Saline County, Illinois. This pivotal project, using U.S.-made solar panels and racking, is poised to advance sustainable energy and contribute to the development of clean energy infrastructure in the southern part of the state. 

The Eldorado project highlights Sol Systems’ Infrastructure + Impact philosophy at scale. The project will donate a portion of the project’s revenues to local community organizations throughout southern Illinois, underlining Sol Systems’ dedication to building a more connected and sustainable future. 

The project involves more than 19 local landowners, providing them with rental income for more than 40 years. The broader local community will benefit from significant property tax revenues estimated at up to $26 million over the next 40 years. These funds will bolster local schools, roads, hospitals, libraries, parks, road districts, townships, and river conservation efforts. This new property tax base will also help offset income lost due to the closure of local mining operations at the Willow Lake Mine and Wildcat Hills Complex.

The project will also feature a pollinator habitat and habitat restoration efforts to better unify the project development with surrounding ecosystem. These initiatives will include planting a mix of grasses and wildflowers, particularly focusing on wildflower-rich areas around the solar array perimeters, to support biodiversity and ecosystem health.

 “The Eldorado project showcases our focus on building renewable infrastructure that delivers a positive impact to local communities and ecosystems,” noted Yuri Horwitz, CEO of Sol Systems. “We are dedicated to delivering not only sustainable energy but also substantial economic and social benefits to the Saline County community.”

Sol Systems partnered with Monarch Private CapitalSilicon Valley Bank, a division of First Citizens Bank, the National Bank of CanadaING BankNational Australia Bank and Comerica Bank on the project financing.

Standard Solar acquires 18 MW project portfolio in Vermont

Standard Solar has acquired an 18.5 MW solar project portfolio in Vermont from local developer MHG Solar.

The six projects, owned and operated by Standard Solar, will provide clean energy to Vermont’s electric utilities under the state’s Standard Offer Program.

The projects include Evergreen Solar, 2.9 MW in Fair Haven; Halladay Solar, 3.3 MW in Middlebury; Midway Solar, 3.3. MW in Berlin; Steinberg Solar, 3.3 MW in Brandon; Stone Mill Solar, 2.8 MW in Castleton; and Trolley Tracks Solar, 2.8 MW in Poultney. All projects are expected to be completed by the end of this year. 

The portfolio, spread across Vermont, marks a substantial growth of Standard Solar’s presence in the state. With the inclusion of these projects, the company is actively advancing Vermont’s green energy objectives and reinforcing its status as a vibrant solar energy hub.

“We firmly believe in the transformative power of solar energy, and this acquisition allows us to play a vital role in helping Vermont achieve its renewable energy targets,” said Eric Partyka, director of business development, Standard Solar. “We are fully committed to partnering with the local authorities and stakeholders to ensure a seamless integration of these solar projects into the existing energy infrastructure.”

The PPA is with VEPP Inc., the Standard Offer Facilitator for existing and new Standard Offer Projects. VEPP acquires electric power from Vermont renewable resources and then distributes it to all 17 Vermont utilities on a pro-rata basis.

BoxPower secures credit facility to expand remote microgrid portfolio in California

BoxPower has closed on a credit facility in collaboration with VerisFi Capital and ECP ForeStar, the sustainable lending platform of Energy Capital Partners (ECP). This strategic financial arrangement will empower BoxPower to accelerate the expansion of its remote microgrid portfolio with utility customers.

BoxPower’s suite of hardware and software solutions are designed to address the energy needs of utilities in rural and underserved areas. Its software and modular hardware allow utilities to identify, design, build and operate microgrids as a cost effective and more reliable alternative to traditional distribution infrastructure.

Remote grids replace distribution lines by providing utility level service using standalone local and clean energy resources. In November 2023, BoxPower announced the successful completion of PG&E’s first fully renewable remote microgrid in California. The company designed, built and will maintain the remote grid for PG&E and is developing and constructing a portfolio of other microgrids across California for various utilities.

“Securing this debt facility with VerisFi and ECP will allow BoxPower to more quickly scale to utility market demand and indicates remote grids are here to stay,” said Anderson Barkow, cofounder and CFO of BoxPower. “This collaboration reinforces our commitment to supporting utilities, addressing critical aging infrastructure and natural disasters while contributing to a more sustainable and resilient future.”

— Solar Builder magazine

[source: https://solarbuildermag.com/projects/longroad-arizona-solar-storage-project-financing-spotlight/]


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