Nuveen and Safari Energy team up for strategic solar portfolio

Nuveen Real Estate and Safari Energy have partnered to develop Nuveen’s own solar resources. After pledging to make all existing and future assets carbon neutral by 2040, the real estate company is targeting to offset 90 percent of its energy use with solar.

“Nuveen has set out an ambitious vision for decarbonizing one of the world’s largest real estate portfolios, requiring renewable energy sources like on-site solar, which can contribute to asset value, while delivering on environmental objectives,” says John Lind, Managing Director, Safari Energy. “At Safari Energy, we’re using advanced technology for a more efficient and accurate deployment, delivering superior operational and financial results for Nuveen.”

Energy reduction has been the focus of Nuveen’s approach to sustainable real estate investment and management for more than 10 years. In 2020, the firm was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy as a Better Buildings Challenge Goal Achiever for outperforming its 10-year commitment to reduce portfolio-wide energy-use intensity by at least 2 percent yearly, across its 30 million sq ft U.S. real estate portfolio. Additionally, in March 2021, the firm published its pathway to achieve net zero carbon across its real estate portfolio by 2040, a full decade ahead of the Paris Agreement goals.

“Having a partner like Safari Energy supports our objective to embed ESG considerations in our investment decisions and business plans, making progress toward our net zero carbon milestones,” says Jessica Long, Head of Sustainability for U.S. Real Estate at Nuveen. “Our teams need to know quickly if there is an opportunity for solar during transaction underwriting and asset managers are looking for ways to engage potential tenants during lease negotiations. Safari provides us with the expertise and immediate feedback that is critical in the fast paced real estate investment process.”

Nuveen and Safari Energy began working together last year in 2020, with over 300 MW of solar potential identified on its real property. Since then, Safari Energy has commenced two projects at Nuveen properties, including a rooftop solar system in progress at an industrial facility in Nashville, TN, as well as a hybrid solar + battery storage system being added to a property in Redlands, CA.

Using a strategic and systematic approach to solar development, an initial property screening is conducted by Safari Energy’s proprietary artificial intelligence platform. This enables the team to identify ideal solar rooftop, parking lot, parking deck and ground mounted opportunities.

Nuveen also has access to a bespoke technology platform that Safari Energy designed, integrating multiple systems, and allowing various teams to remain in sync on tasks. Safari Energy works directly with Nuveen’s asset managers and tenants to coordinate permits, construction schedules and project statuses.

Part of PPL Corporation, and one of the largest regulated utility companies in the U.S., Safari Energy has developed or acquired over 500 commercial scale solar projects nationwide. Spanning 24 states and Washington, D.C., Safari Energy’s projects have generated more than 618,000 MWh of electricity, the equivalent of avoiding more than 437,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions.

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