sPower, a renewable energy independent power producer (IPP), has closed on the $700 million construction/term loan financing for the Spotsylvania Solar Energy Center in Spotsylvania County, Va.
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.
sPower received local approval of its three special use permit applications for the Spotsylvania Solar Energy Center in April 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,” says David Shipley, CFO of sPower.
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.
The project 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.
Photo: The Spotsylvania Solar Energy Center’s Project Status web page