Longroad Energy, a US-based renewable energy developer, owner and operator, will be starting construction of Little Bear Solar, comprising four separate projects totaling 215 MWdc in Fresno County, Calif. Additionally, two Danish pension funds, PKA and PenSam, represented by their investment manager AIP, announced today that they are investing in 50 percent of the equity interests of both Little Bear Solar and Prospero I Solar, the 379 MWdc project in Andrews County, TX.
Prospero I is expected to come online in the second quarter of 2020 and Little Bear is projected to come online in the fourth quarter of 2020. Both projects are considered critical infrastructure and therefore not impacted by recent COVID-19 restrictions. Swinerton has put in place COVID-19 best practices at each site.
Little Bear, 215 MWdc, Fresno County, CA
Little Bear consists of four separate projects selling energy and RECs to Marin Clean Energy (MCE) under 20-year busbar PPAs. The projects are expected to be completed by the end of the fourth quarter of 2020. In addition to creating approximately 500 jobs during the construction of the facility, the project will contribute over $2 million in sales and property taxes.
Longroad acquired the development project from First Solar last year and has since completed all the elements for a successful deployment, the major components are as follows:
- EPC contract with Swinerton Renewable Energy
- Panel supply with First Solar, using Series 6 technology
- Inverter supply with Power Electronics
- Tracker supply with NEXTracker
KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. and Santander Corporate & Investment Banking closed $333 million of the credit facilities for the project and acted as Coordinating Lead Arrangers. U.S. Bank is the sole tax equity investor.
Prospero I, 379 MWdc, Andrews County, TX
In May of 2019, Longroad announced the financing and notice to proceed of the Prospero I solar project, one of the largest solar farms in the U.S. The project has been under construction since then and is projected to be operational in the second quarter of 2020.
The Prospero I solar farm covers 4,640 acres and is expected to deliver more than $21 million in property taxes, including more than $12 million to the Andrews Independent School District. At its peak, the project employed over 400 people during construction. All told, the project expects to pay more than $24 million in wages over the project life.
First Solar, NEXTracker, and TMEIC are all project suppliers; Swinerton Renewable Energy is building the project under an EPC agreement. The project has an energy-only PPA with Shell Energy North America (SENA).
Facebook is sole tax equity investor and, along with SENA, will share the renewable energy attributes generated by the project’s energy production. CIT is the Coordinating Lead Arranger for the construction loan. Other banks include Silicon Valley Bank, Zions Bancorporation NA, National Australia Bank Ltd, Landesbank Hessen-Thuringen Girozentrale (Helaba), Rabobank, and Commerzbank.
— Solar Builder magazine