US ROUND-UP: Recurrent Energy lands financing, Major US corporates back ITC

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Recurrent Energy’s Texas plants will deliver clean energy to brewer Anheuser-Busch and Energy Transfer Partners. Image: Recurrent Energy.

A round-up of recent news from the US, where Recurrent Energy moves closer to completing two Texas projects and major corporations call on Congress to pass measures to bolster green energy growth.

 

Recurrent Energy secures funding for Texas solar projects

Canadian Solar subsidiary Recurrent Energy has closed US$282 million of debt financing to construct its Maplewood and Maplewood 2 solar parks, located in Pecos County, west Texas.

The Maplewood plant has a capacity of 327MWp and will deliver energy to brewer Anheuser-Busch under a power purchase agreement (PPA) signed last year.

Energy from the project is expected to cover 50% of the electricity consumption of Anheuser-Busch’s US operations and contribute to the Budweiser owner’s goal of achieving 100% renewable purchased electricity by 2025.

The 40 MWp Maplewood 2 project will deliver clean power to Dallas-based oil and gas pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners under a 15-year PPA. The agreement marks Energy Transfer’s first dedicated solar contract.

Both projects will use Canadian Solar’s bifacial modules that produce electricity from both sides of the panel, increasing energy generation and improving reliability during winter months.

According to Canadian Solar CEO Shawn Qu, Texas is leading the energy transition by using technology to deliver competitive, affordable and reliable energy for consumers.

“We are pleased to contribute to the growth of solar in Texas while creating new jobs and supporting economic growth in communities across the state,” he said.

 

McDonald's, Nestlé call for ITC tweaks in next COVID-19 relief package

McDonald's and Nestlé are among more than 30 companies that have urged Congress to pass measures in upcoming COVID-19 recovery legislation that will spur clean energy growth.

“It’s clear that we must double down on clean energy infrastructure to put Americans back to work and come back stronger and cleaner than before this pandemic-driven recession,” the corporations said in a letter to Congressional leadership.

To address renewable energy project delays and the reduction in available tax equity, the companies are requesting direct pay for qualifying projects under the production tax credit (PTC) and investment tax credit (ITC). They said this would provide “clarity and certainty” to address financing constraints as a result of the economic downturn.

The letter also calls on Congress to delay the scheduled phasedown of the ITC and push the 2020 PTC and ITC credit values into 2021 and 2022 so that companies and workers have a chance to rebuild and projects can avoid getting mothballed or dropped entirely.

In response to the letter, Solar Energy Industries Association CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said the proposed policies “can help us repair our economy and rebuild better”.

“The letter outlines the simple steps Congress can take to protect job-creating industries like solar and highlights the growing chorus of support for a strong clean energy economy.”

Other signatories to the letter included Cargill, Hewlett Packard, PepsiCo and the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance.

 

US Solar Fund’s 61MW Oregon portfolio begins operations

US Solar Fund has announced the commissioning of its 61MW portfolio of four utility-scale solar plants in Oregon.

The London-listed solar investor closed the acquisition of the Oregon portfolio last month, with plant commissioning subject to the interconnecting utility commencing work following COVID-19 restrictions.

That work is now complete, with the four projects selling 100% of their electricity output under PPAs to utility Portland General Electric. The PPAs have an average term of 11.2 years with fixed annual percentage increases.

Earlier this year, US Solar Fund revealed it was considering raising further capital after it used proceeds from its US$200 million initial public offering in 2019 to fund four US solar purchases totalling 383MW.

With the commissioning of its Oregon portfolio, US Solar Fund has 276MW of operating utility-scale solar plants, and a further 167MW in advanced stages of construction expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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