Lightsource BP completes financing for 316MW of solar in Texas

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Lightsource BP has placed the US utility-scale solar market firmly in its crosshairs. Image: Lightsource BP.

Lightsource BP has closed a US$380 million financing package for two Texan solar projects with a combined capacity of 316MW.

The developer said it has also broken ground on the 163MW Elm Branch and 153MW Briar Creek plants, which and are located about 40 miles south of Dallas.

Tax equity financing was secured from Bank of America, while debt for the facilities was provided by mandated lead arrangers ING Capital and Société Générale.

Lightsource said power contracts signed previously for the facilities “played a key role” in supporting investment and financing. The company recently secured a virtual power purchase agreement (PPA) with aerospace company L3Harris Technologies for up to 100MW from Elm Branch as well as a proxy generation PPA with investment group Allianz Global for electricity generated by Briar Creek.

“This transaction is a demonstration of the low risk and stable yield opportunities that renewable energy projects offer to investors,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of the Americas at Lightsource BP. “Despite challenges posed with COVID-19, Lightsource BP reached financial close on over US$1.2 billion in transactions in the US in 2020, a substantial increase from 2019.”

The projects are expected to be operational by 2021, with McCarthy Building Companies selected by Lightsource as its engineering, procurement and construction contractor, following on from the companies’ collaboration at the 300MW Bighorn Solar plant in Colorado.

Scott Canada, executive vice president of McCarthy’s renewable energy and storage unit, said the company is “honoured” to be part of the team that is bringing more clean energy to Texas: “Around the country we are seeing the positive impact that solar energy can have on communities as they embrace clean energy solutions to attract large companies with renewable energy goals.”

Lightsource BP earlier this month announced it has completed construction at another Texan utility-scale PV plant, the 260MW Impact Solar project.

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