Leeward Renewable Energy bags financing for 296MW of US solar projects


An operational solar project in Ohio. Image: United Renewable Energy.

Texas-headquartered developer Leeward Renewable Energy has closed financing for 296MW worth of solar PV projects in Ohio and North Carolina, adding to its 24-strong portfolio of renewable energy installations across the US.

MUFG Bank and Wells Fargo have provided the financing. MUFG has put up approximately US$420 million in construction financing and Wells Fargo has provided a US$195 million tax equity commitment.

The Big Plain Solar project in London, Ohio, is a 196MW facility, and the Oak Trail Solar facility near Moyock, North Carolina, is forecast to have a 100MW capacity.

MUFG issued its financing under the Green Loan Principles, which facilitate environmentally sustainable economic activity. It acted as the green loan structuring agent, coordinating lead arranger and administrative agent for the construction to term financing in addition to securing financial contributions from a number of institutions as part of the debt.

Wells Fargo introduced its Institute for Sustainable Finance in 2021, aiming to deploy US$500 billion to sustainable projects and businesses by 2030.

“We are pleased to have secured financing for our Big Plain and Oak Trail projects, marking another significant milestone in the development of our solar energy portfolio,” said Chris Loehr, senior vice president of finance at Leeward Renewable Energy.

“These agreements demonstrate the continued confidence financial institutions hold in our project portfolio and performance as we continue to execute on our contracted 2022–2023 pipeline.”

Leeward has a current pipeline of 20GW projects either under development or construction.

The Ohio and North Carolina projects began construction in August and October respectively. In January, the company signed a multi-year supply agreement with First Solar for 1GW of its thin-film modules.

The totality of power from both projects will be supplied to Verizon Telecommunications in a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA). Leeward has history with Verizon, having signed 360MW worth of PPAs with the company in January.

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