Nautilus Solar Energy LLC, recently closed a $39 million non-recourse construction and term facility from Rabobank, a leading financier of renewable energy projects in North America. The credit facility will support the construction of a solar photovoltaic (PV) portfolio of distributed generation projects located in the province of Ontario.
“Rabobank is committed to building on our position as a leading financier of renewable energy projects in the North American market,” said Thomas Emmons, head of project finance, Americas, for Rabobank. “We are delighted to work with Nautilus, an experienced solar developer with expertise in projects of this complexity, and look forward to partnering with them again in the future.”
The transaction represents a milestone for the solar industry as one of the largest financings executed to date in Canada for the projects that feature investments by the local community cooperatives and First Nations. The deal is a testament to Nautilus’ expertise in structuring financings of this complexity for a diverse portfolio of solar assets of different sizes, investment structures and in various stages of completion.
The portfolio consists of projects in the Ontario Power Authority’s feed-in-tariff program developed by Nautilus Solar Energy through its Canadian subsidiary, Nautilus Solar Energy Canada Inc. in a co-development partnership with Moose Power Inc. The community investment partners include Green Energy Co-operative of Ontario Inc. (GECO) and Eagle Lake First Nation. North Sky CleanTech Alliance Fund L.P. and NewWorld Environmental Infrastructure L.P. will provide equity funding for the portfolio.
“One impediment to solar financing is the difficulty of securing funding for a group of heterogeneous assets,” said Jim Rice, Nautilus’s co-founder and CEO. “The deal Nautilus has secured with Rabobank and with community partners, GECO and Eagle Lake First Nation, demonstrates that complex transactions can get done, setting the stage for more such financings in the future.”
In addition to arranging the transaction, Nautilus will also provide physical and financial asset management for the projects.
“Ontario’s feed-in tariff program has been a strong stimulus to solar that is serving as a model for other governmental entities throughout North America,” said Everett Smith, managing partner of GoldenSet Capital Partners. “We are delighted to be working with Nautilus on behalf of our equity investors to bring solar to Ontario, and especially to be working with community and aboriginal partners. Our partnership with Nautilus was a clear choice: few solar developers have the knowledge and expertise to execute such a complex financing structure.”
The commitment by Rabobank provides the opportunity to acquire additional solar projects with community and aboriginal participation.
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