Recurrent closes financing for 160MW North Fork solar project in Oklahoma

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The North Fork project is Recurrent Energy’s first facility in Oklahoma. Image: Recurrent Energy

Recurrent Energy, a subsidiary of solar developer Canadian Solar, has secured US$112 million in financing for its 160MW North Fork solar project in the US state of Oklahoma.

Financier NordLB served as the coordinating lead arranger and joint lead arranger for the deal, while Dutch bank Rabobank operated as joint lead arranger. The project is currently under construction, and Recurrent expects the facility to begin commercial operations in June 2024.

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The company has also signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority (OMPA) to acquire 100% of the electricity produced by the farm.

“As Recurrent Energy ramps up investment in its diverse project pipeline and increases its project ownership, we’re delighted today to announce the close of project financing for North Fork Solar in Oklahoma with our trusted partners – NordLB and Rabobank,” said Ismael Guerro, Recurrent CEO. “Oklahoma has long been known for its rich wind resource, and now OMPA’s customers will benefit from low-cost solar energy to complement the wind energy in their portfolio.”

This is the utility’s first deal with a solar producer, with 14% of OMPA’s total annual power supplied by water sources, such as the Kaw Hydroelectric Plant near Ponca City. The PPA could be particularly significant in Oklahoma, as the state’s power mix more broadly has struggled to integrate solar capacity in the past. According to the Energy Information Administration, Oklahoma procures the third-most power from wind of the 50 US states, with wind accounting for 44% of the state’s energy mix.

Oklahoma also has a well-established fossil fuel sector, with five petroleum refineries in operation, producing around 524,000 barrels of oil per day. In 2022, Oklahoma produced the sixth-most crude oil of any state, and investing more in renewable power in general, and solar power in particular, will be vital to keeping pace with the energy transition.

The news is the latest positive development for the Oklahoma solar industry, after Enel North America announced plans to build a 3GW heterojunction technology solar cell and module factory in the state earlier this year.

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