8minute Solar Energy announced the 67-megawatt Lotus Solar Farm in Madera County, Calif., is now fully operational. The Lotus Solar Farm produces energy for more than 12,000 Southern California homes, delivered through a 20-year power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison, and will reduce carbon emissions by more than 48,000 metric tons each year.
“California is a global leader in solar energy – but as past weeks have shown, also at the epicenter of climate change impacts,” said Dr. Tom Buttgenbach, Founder and CEO of 8minute. “Smoke-reddened skies prove we have no time to waste, and as the largest solar developer in the state, we know we must lead the way to clearer days. The Lotus Solar Farm is yet another 8minute project that demonstrates how solar is a win-win solution: fighting climate change and air pollution while creating value for investors and landowners alike. We look forward to continuing to power a robust solar industry in California and beyond, working with investment partners like Allianz Global Investors and others across the international investor community to help accelerate the global clean energy transition.”
The 375-acre project was strategically sited former grazing land and created 300 peak union jobs in Madera County during construction. Dedicated to greenfield development, 8minute acquired the land and conducted permitting for the Lotus Solar Farm, obtained the interconnection agreement, secured the power purchase agreement and managed construction through to commercial operations.
Allianz Global Investors, one of the world’s leading active asset managers, acquired the project from 8minute late last year, marking the AllianzGI Infrastructure Equity team’s first U.S. solar project purchase.
“We feel incredibly proud that our first investment in the U.S. renewable energy landscape was completed in California. The Lotus Solar Farm not only represents a smart financial investment, but also underscores the environmental and social opportunities that are available in the country’s clean energy transition,” said Armin Sandhoevel, Chief Investment Officer, Infrastructure Equity at Allianz Global Investors. “As demand rightly trends towards renewables amid a changing weather climate, we look forward to ongoing strategic collaboration with 8minute – a firm committed to shepherding a clean energy future into reality with each well-executed project.”
8minute and AllianzGI worked together to secure tax equity investment from independent power producer and developer Tenaska.
8minute and AllianzGI secured additional financing in a $140 million construction debt package, letter of credit and term loan facility from CIT and NORD/LB, with participation from Siemens and Commerzbank. Signal Energy provided the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction services for Lotus, while key suppliers included NEXTracker with its NX Horizon™ smart solar tracker and TMEIC with 14 of their Ninja 4200 central inverters.
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