Financing has been secured for the construction of the Fern solar power plant in Edgecombe County, North Carolina by energy developer BayWa r.e. RBC Capital Markets syndicated a tax equity investment commitment in the project and the lender group comprised of Rabobank, Coordinating Lead Arranger, and Banco Sabadell, Joint Lead Arranger, have committed to providing construction and term financing.
According to Jam Attari, CEO, BayWa r.e. Solar Projects LLC, the success in securing tax equity and project financing for this landmark project demonstrates the company’s ability to continue to attract investors to the fundamental value proposition of renewable energy. “It is great to see the next stage of this pioneering project unlocked. Once generating power, it will be providing green energy for six major US companies through a market-first multi-party VPPA,” he said.
The VPPA, facilitated by LevelTen Energy, brought together Bloomberg, Cox Enterprises, Gap Inc, Salesforce and Workday, creating the Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group and contracted a total of 42.5MW from Fern’s output. This was supplemented later in 2019 with the announcement that Starbucks had entered into a vPPA with BayWa r.e. for 46 MW. Construction of the 133.6MW solar farm is already underway and is due for completion in the summer of 2020, with full commissioning anticipated in H2 2020.
Yonette Chung McLean, Managing Director, RBC Capital Markets, said that the project Fern expands RBC’s tax equity syndication expertise, building on prior direct investing, syndication and structuring experience. “We are proud to partner with BayWa r.e. on this exciting solar project,” she added.
Fern Solar is the first of BayWa r.e.’s projects at scale in the US that will be retained and managed long-term, representing a shift in the company’s model in the region. Investments in renewables are continuing their strong growth in the US and this financing highlights the ongoing confidence in renewables in the US market and, in particular, the Fern Solar project.
Once completed, the Fern asset will comprise 353,276 solar panels and 42 inverters and will produce enough electricity to power nearly 20,000 homes.