Greenbacker energizes 240 MWdc Appaloosa utility-scale project

Greenbacker utility scale solar

Greenbacker Capital Management has placed its 240 MWdc / 200 MWac utility-scale Appaloosa Solar 1 project into commercial operations in Iron County, Utah. With more than twice the power generation capacity of its sister project — Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company’s 104 MWdc / 80 MWac Graphite Solar in Carbon County, Utah — Appaloosa is now the company’s largest operational clean energy asset to date.

While the project represents a new milestone for Greenbacker and minority owner rPlus Energies LLC, it’s also a landmark for the clean energy industry. The financing for Appaloosa marked one of the first tax equity transactions to utilize the solar production tax credit (PTC) newly expanded by the Inflation Reduction Act. While Greenbacker has successfully executed tax equity investments and employed the federal investment tax credit (ITC) for years, this is its first financing utilizing the new solar PTC.

“Bringing Appaloosa online is a milestone both for GCM as a business and for the energy transition as a whole, representing a new way to build the future of sustainable power,” said Ben Tillar, principal at Greenbacker. “It was accomplished through the dedication of our ongoing project partners and the support of the Iron County community, to whom we are grateful for hosting this project.”

Many of the partnerships involved with Appaloosa began on the Graphite Solar project, which was developed, built, and commissioned by rPlus, with Sundt Construction delivering the engineering, procurement, and construction. Like Graphite, Appaloosa has a long-term power purchase agreement in place with utility PacifiCorp that supports Meta’s regional operations under Rocky Mountain Power’s Schedule 34 green energy tariff, which allows large customers to directly support the incremental addition of renewable energy capacity to support the customer’s energy needs.

The project began delivering solar energy on Jan. 24, helping contribute to Meta’s 100% renewable energy and net zero goals.

“Having collaborated on Graphite Solar, we entered this project with the confidence that our partners foster an environment of efficiency, execution, excellence, and trust,” said Luigi Resta, rPlus president and CEO.

The project also invests in the local community and economy via the Local First – Appaloosa Solar 1 Scholarship. Greenbacker, rPlus, Gardner Group, and Sundt sponsor the $120,000 scholarship program, under which awards are made to Southern Utah University students who plan to remain local while pursuing their career goals after graduation or certificate completion. Additionally, project construction relied on many local vendors, delivering revenue to the area and supporting approximately 250 construction-related green energy jobs.

Greenbacker acquired the project in late 2022, through an affiliated investment vehicle focused on sustainable infrastructure.

Before the passage of the IRA, solar power projects were only eligible for the ITC. Today, solar projects can choose between either the ITC or the PTC, which currently offers a 2.75 cents per kWh credit for electricity produced by solar energy and other renewables.

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