A joint venture between Wells Fargo & Co. and 8point3 Energy Partners LP, the yieldco formed by SunPower and First Solar, has acquired 22 MW of SunPower solar energy systems under construction at 27 Kern High School District (KHSD) sites in Kern County, Calif. The acquisition represents the first drop-down transaction for 8point3 Energy Partners.
“We’re pleased to announce our first drop-down transaction today, an acquisition that further diversifies our portfolio with a very significant distributed generation asset and strengthens our current position and outlook for long-term growth,” says Chuck Boynton, CEO of 8point3 Energy Partners. “We commend Kern High School District for its leadership in solar and look forward to celebrating the completion of these systems later this year.”
“We are excited about our new joint venture and are proud to contribute to the success of 8point3 Energy Partners and SunPower,” comments Barry Neal, executive vice president of renewable energy and environmental finance at Wells Fargo. “We are pleased to provide capital to solar projects that will decrease emissions while reducing costs and applaud Kern High School District for making such a substantial commitment to solar.”
At the KHSD sites, SunPower is installing solar carports using its panels in the schools’ parking lots. Citing to data provided by The Solar Foundation, the partners say KHSD’s solar projects represent the largest contracted commitment to solar power by any school district in the U.S.
Under a power purchase agreement, Wells Fargo and 8point3 Energy Partners say they will sell electricity to the district at competitive rates, providing KHSD a hedge against potential utility rate increases with no up-front capital cost. Once the systems are operational later this year, the district estimates it will achieve $80 million in electricity cost savings over 25 years. KHSD will own the renewable energy credits associated with the systems.