Leeward closes financing for Rabbitbrush Solar Project, its first solar + storage facility

Leeward renewable energy

Leeward Renewable Energy closed $58.5 million in construction financing and secured tax equity commitments for its Rabbitbrush Solar Facility located in Kern County, Calif., which is currently under construction.

When completed, will have a solar generation capacity of 100 MW and the project also integrates a 20 MW, 50 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS), which will bolster the resiliency and reliability of the California energy grid. The project utilizes 415,000 photovoltaic modules provided by U.S.-based First Solar. Construction for the project has generated roughly 300 new union jobs under a project labor agreement.

“We are pleased to have secured financing for the Rabbitbrush facility, which will be LRE’s first financing for a solar and BESS facility,” commented Chris Loehr, LRE Chief Financial Officer. “This is the first of many LRE solar and BESS financings to come as we build out the contracted pipeline in 2022 and 2023. We appreciate the strong support from our offtake partners and participating financial institutions, and we look forward to working together throughout the lifecycle of the Rabbitbrush project.”

Wells Fargo served as the administrative agent on the construction financing, and Silicon Valley Bank and MUFG served as joint lead arrangers. Wells Fargo served as Green Structuring Agent, and Wells Fargo, Silicon Valley Bank and MUFG also were the bookrunners, and the debt was issued under the Green Loan Principles, which aims to facilitate and support environmentally sustainable economic activity. J.P. Morgan provided approximately $12.5 million in tax equity financing and has agreed to invest an additional approximately $50 million once the project is operational, which is expected to occur in August 2022.

Energy generated by the project will be provided to not-for-profit, community-owned electricity providers Central Coast Community Energy (CCCE) and Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) through two previously announced 15-year power purchase agreements (PPAs). When fully operational, Rabbitbrush will generate enough clean solar energy to serve the needs of nearly 40,000 homes per year, displacing approximately 48,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

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