Lightsource bp, a global solar development company, has successfully closed on a $20 million financing package and has mobilized construction on its Wildflower Solar project located in Rio Linda, about 10 miles north of Sacramento, Calif.
All of the electricity generated by the 16.5 MW DC/13 MW AC project will be purchased by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), a community-owned, not-for-profit electric service provider, through a long-term power contract.
SMUD will use the power purchased from Wildflower to support its Neighborhood SolarShares program that can provide solar to new housing developments through an off-site utility-scale solar project. The community solar program gives developers the ability to deliver the environmental benefits of solar power without having to install it on every rooftop.
“This program provides options to builders and a net benefit to potential home buyers, all while providing clean power to our community,” Arlen Orchard, general manager and CEO of SMUD.
“California and the Sacramento region are facing an affordable housing crisis and our low-cost solar option provides a valuable tool to lower the construction costs of new homes while supporting carbon reduction goals,” Orchard adds.
Lightsource bp secured tax equity financing for the project from Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, via its partnership with the Rockwood Group. National Westminster Bank PLC (NatWest), a retail and commercial bank and project financing lender in Europe, is the senior project finance debt lender. The balance of the equity requirements will be invested by Lightsource bp. Lightsource bp engaged CohnReznick as the financial advisor on the transaction.
Project construction is underway, with commercial operation expected by the end of the year. Construction Innovations, a locally based U.S. manufacturers of specialized electrical systems, has partnered with local contractors to build the project. The project will employ more than 75 on-site construction team members from the local community during peak construction, in addition to supporting full-time manufacturing jobs within Construction Innovations’ Sacramento facility. Founded in Sacramento in 2011, Construction Innovations has provided the electrical systems needed to power over 6% of all solar capacity nationwide.
Lightsource bp creates customized long-term land and environmental management plans for solar farms that aim to maintain, as well as develop, plant and wildlife habitats to provide a net gain for local biodiversity. The plan for Wildflower Solar will be to create a pollinator-friendly solar farm, designed in collaboration with ecology experts to restore and conserve pollinator habitat.