Global renewable energy developer, service provider and distributor BayWa r.e. has secured tax equity and construction financing for its Fern Solar project in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. 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.
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.
“Our success in securing tax equity and project financing for this landmark project demonstrates our ability to continue to attract investors to the fundamental value proposition of renewable energy,” said Jam Attari, CEO, BayWa r.e. Solar Projects LLC. “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.”
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 133.6 MW 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: “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.”
Greg Hutton, Head of Project Finance Americas, Rabobank, said: “We are very excited to partner with BayWa on their first construction and term financing for a large-scale solar project in the United States. This is a landmark transaction in many ways and fits perfectly with Rabobank’s commitment to supporting the energy transition in North America.”
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.
Luis Eduardo Morales, VP of Structured Finance, Banco Sabadell, said: “Sabadell is committed to supporting the development of renewables in the USA and worldwide and is pleased to have been a part of Fern. Working with all these great institutions and people involved in the project has been a great experience.”
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.