Construction / term financing secured for Spotsylvania Solar Energy Center in Virginia
SALT LAKE CITY, UT—sPower, a leading renewable energy Independent Power Producer (IPP), announced that the company closed on $700+ million construction / term loan financing for Spotsylvania Solar Energy Center in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. At 620 MW DC, this is the largest solar project east of the Rockies. The project is currently under construction, with phases coming online this year through project completion in the summer of 2021.
The full financing package for the Spotsylvania Solar Energy Center exceeds $1 billion. In April, sPower secured a $350 million tax equity commitment for this project with Wells Fargo’s Renewable Energy & Environmental Finance group. Nine separate banks committed the $700 million of capital needed for the construction / term loan financing, this completes financing for the project.
sPower received local approval of its three special use permit applications for the Spotsylvania Solar Energy Center in April of 2019, and construction began shortly after. The project was approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) in August of 2018.
“This has been a banner year for sPower in the capital markets. The Highlander financing sets an even higher watermark for us and marks the largest project debt financing in our company’s history, at more than $700 million,” said David Shipley, CFO, sPower.
Brian Callaway VP of Structured Finance/ M&A said that, “Financing and safely constructing the largest project in our portfolio are milestone accomplishments but doing so in today’s environment makes this an even more incredible feat. The resilience of the sPower team and the commitment of our financing partners to us and the renewable energy space in these challenging times is nothing short of remarkable.”
HSBC was Sole Coordinating Lead Arranger, and the financing included eight additional Mandated Lead Arrangers: La Caixa, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, Citibank, Societe Generale, Landesbank and Banco de Sabadell.
“HSBC was delighted to have led the structuring and execution of this significant financing for the Highlander Project,” said James Wright, Managing Director, HSBC. “Closing a transaction of this magnitude in the current macro environment is challenging. The success of this transaction is a testament to SPower’s experience and the quality of the underlying assets, and the support of the broader lender group is a vote of confidence in renewable energy projects and sustainable finance.”
“Beyond what this means to sPower, this project brings real economic opportunity to Spotsylvania County and the region during a critical time,” said Ryan Creamer, CEO of sPower.
The project will offset approximately 825,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year and will generate an estimated 700 new jobs during the construction phase and approximately 20–25 full-time positions during operations. In addition to increased property tax revenue for Spotsylvania County, the company has committed to support the local community through capital investments and funding priority projects. In response to COVID-19, sPower gave $200,000 to Mary Washington Health System, $50,000 to the local Community Foundation’s Community Relief Fund, and nearly $15,000 to Spotsylvania County Public Schools.
Cohn Reznick served as financial advisor and Sheppard Mullin served as sPower’s counsel in the deal.
About sPower: Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, sPower is a leading independent power producer (IPP) that owns and operates more than 150 renewable generation systems across the U.S. We operate a leading wind, solar and storage portfolio of nearly 2.0 GW, with 15 GW of projects under development. sPower is owned by a joint venture partnership between The AES Corporation (NYSE: AES), Fortune 500 global power company, and the Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo), one of Canada’s largest and most diversified institutional investment managers.