8minutenergy Renewables LLC, an independent solar power developer in the U.S., and global private asset manager Capital Dynamics have announced the acquisition and development of the 328 MW DC Mount Signal 3 solar PV project, located in the city of Calexico in California’s Imperial Valley.
According to 8minutenergy, the project is the third phase of the 800 MW Mount Signal Solar Farm, which is among the largest PV projects in the world.
Capital Dynamics acquired Mount Signal 3’s equity interests from 8minutenergy, which will continue to be the project developer. Although terms of the transaction are not being disclosed, Capital Dynamics is currently arranging tax equity and debt financing for the project, with financial closing expected in late July.
8minutenergy says it started developing Mount Signal 3 in 2011 and has already completed all procurement and construction contracts. Mortenson Construction was appointed the engineering, procurement and construction contractor and will be hiring for 300-400 local construction jobs, starting this year. First Solar was selected as the panel supplier, providing 2.8 million Series 4 thin-film panels. In addition, Southern California Edison and 8minutenergy signed the long-term power purchase agreement in 2014 to deliver the project’s clean, renewable energy to residents in 15 surrounding counties.
8minutenergy will continue to oversee construction and is expected to bring the plant to commercial operation by the end of 2018.
“As the original developer of the Mount Signal Solar Farm, we successfully built the 260 MW DC Mount Signal 1 project and brought it online in 2013. We are thrilled to bring Mount Signal 3 to fruition, which is the largest in 8minutenergy’s history,” comments 8minutenergy CEO and founder Martin Hermann. “It’s our mission to deliver abundant and affordable clean energy, and we are certainly doing that with Mount Signal 3. Through our rigorous project development approach, we are going to, once again, be delivering solar power at cost-competitive rates to fossil fuels.”
“We thank our dedicated partners, including Capital Dynamics, whose exceptional team and project experience stood out to us,” says Tom Buttgenbach, 8minutenergy president and co-founder. “We’re proud to be working together to bring clean energy to Imperial Valley and to do so in an environmentally friendly manner. Mount Signal 3 will be built upon 2,000 acres of low-productivity farmland, and we will be significantly reducing water usage in the region, as well as protecting wildlife habitat, during construction and operation. It’s become an ideal project for everyone involved.”
“Our successful experience supplying panels to 8minutenergy, as well as our strong relationship with Mortenson, enabled us to be a part of this major project,” says Roger Bredder, First Solar’s vice president of business development for the Americas. “Our reliable thin-film technology, with proven optimal performance in the high-temperature Imperial Valley, provides savings all the way through to end users.”
8minutenergy engaged several advisory firms to close the Mount Signal 3 transaction – most notably, BofA Merrill Lynch as the lead financial advisor and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe as legal counsel. Capital Dynamics was represented by Amis, Patel & Brewer LLP as legal counsel.