Leeward Renewable Energy, an owner, and operator with a portfolio of around 2,000 MW of generating capacity from renewable sources, closed $58.5 million financing and tax equity commitments for its Rabbitbrush Solar Project in Kern County, California.
Silicon Valley Bank and MUFG served as joint lead arrangers, and Well Fargo served as the administrative agent on the construction financing. Wells Fargo also served as Green Structuring Agent, and Wells Fargo, Silicon Valley Bank, and MUFG were the bookrunners.
The debt was issued under the Green Loan Principles, which aims to facilitate and support environmentally sustainable economic activity. J.P. Morgan provided approximately $12.5 million in tax equity financing and has agreed to invest an additional about $50 million once the project is operational, expected to occur in August 2022.
The Rabbitbrush solar project is under construction and expected to generate around 100 MW of solar energy after its completion. The solar project also integrates a 20 MW, 50 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS).
The project utilizes 415,000 photovoltaic modules provided by First Solar, a manufacturer of solar panels. The project construction has generated around 300 new union jobs under a project labor agreement.
“We are pleased to have secured financing for the Rabbitbrush facility, which will be LRE’s first financing for a solar and BESS facility,” commented Chris Loehr, LRE Chief Financial Officer. “This is the first of many LRE solar and BESS financings to come as we build out the contracted pipeline in 2022 and 2023. We appreciate the strong support from our offtake partners and participating financial institutions, and we look forward to working together throughout the lifecycle of the Rabbitbrush project.”
Recently, Infiniti Energy, an independent solar power producer providing EPC and long-term financing, announced the closing of up to an $87 million tax equity facility and a $30 million construction revolver facility to support an expanding portfolio of commercial solar projects in the US.
According to Mercom’s Q1 2022 Solar Funding and M&A report, announced large-scale project funding in Q1 2022 came to $9.1 billion, a 27% increase compared to $7.1 billion in Q4 2021.