LRE raises US$580 million for renewables projects, including Arizona solar farm

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The Chino Valley solar project in Arizona. Image: Arizona Public Services

US clean power developer Leeward Renewable Energy (LRE) has raised US$580 million in tax commitments and debt facilities for two renewable power projects, including the 179MW White Wing Ranch solar farm in the state of Arizona, US.

The funds originate from a number of banks, with Wells Fargo providing the tax equity commitment, and Mizuho Bank, the National Bank of Canada, Société Générale and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank providing the debt facility. The White Wing Ranch project is currently under construction, and LRE expects to commission the project in the second half of 2024.

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LRE also noted that some of the latest rounds of funding would support redevelopment of its GSG wind portfolio in the state of Illinois, US.

“This key milestone reflects the continued confidence from leading financial institutions and knowledgeable investors in LRE’s growth plans and our ability to execute,” said Chris Loehr, senior vice president of finance at LRE. “We have completed a record amount of financing for LRE projects this year and we are looking forward to carrying this momentum into 2024.”

The news follows this week’s announcement that Terabase has used its Terafab autonomous construction system at the project, which was used to install 17MW of solar panel capacity at the project. Alongside the deployment of this technology at the project, the commitment of additional funding for the solar farm is a demonstration of LRE’s faith in the project’s prospects, and that of the Arizona solar sector more broadly.

According to the US Solar Energy Information Administration (SEIA), Arizona had 6.5GW of solar capacity installed as of Q2 of this year, the fifth-most among the 50 states.

The SEIA also expects developers to install 9.8GW of new capacity over the next five years, the fourth-most in the US, and earlier this month, the Bureau of Land Management made progress on environmental reviews for a solar-plus-storage project in the state, alongside transmission line upgrades. The Arizona Public Services utility has also announced plans to install 6GW of new solar and wind capacity between 2025 and 2031 as it looks to replace power generation from soon-to-be-retired coal plants, amid growing interest in solar and storage projects in the state.

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