U.S. renewable energy developer Longroad Energy has begun construction on its 379-MW Prospero Solar project in Andrews County, Texas. Facebook will be the sole tax equity investor for the project, which reached a total financing package of approximately $416 million. Shell Energy North America (SENA) will receive the power from the project through a 12-year PPA.
“From our community stakeholders, to our suppliers, energy off-takers and investors, it takes a lot of hard work and cooperation to complete a project of this magnitude,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of Longroad. “We are extremely lucky to have had such great partners and are proud to bring this much needed clean energy to the market.”
The Prospero solar farm will cover approximately 4,600 acres in Andrews County, Texas. The project will deliver more than $21 million in property taxes, including more than $12 million to the Andrews Independent School District. The project will also create several hundred construction jobs as well as jobs for the operating facility. All told, the project expects to pay more than $23 million in wages over the project life.
The project will deploy First Solar panels, TMEIC inverters and NEXTracker tracking systems. Swinerton Renewable Energy will be the EPC contractor for the project and the interconnection will be through Sharyland Utilities.
Both Facebook and Shell will share the renewable energy attributes generated by the project’s energy production.
“Facebook is excited to be one of the first companies to use a direct investment to meet our renewable energy goals,” said Peter Freed, Energy Strategy Manager at Facebook. “We hope such investments can be a new avenue of meaningfully engaging with projects, which might be easier for some companies than a long-term power purchase agreement, thereby unlocking new options for more organizations to meet their goals and grow the market.”
“We are proud to add this project to our portfolio of zero carbon assets and to further Shell’s efforts to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Glenn Wright, President of SENA. “This is another great opportunity to be a part of increasing the supply of renewable power into the grid while also helping our assets in the Permian to meet their sustainability goals.”
CIT Bank, N.A. is the Coordinating Lead Arranger, Administrative Agent and Collateral Agent on the project’s construction and term financing. Silicon Valley Bank and Zion’s Bancorporation N.A. are Joint Lead Arrangers, while National Australia Bank Ltd., Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale (Helaba), Rabobank and Commerzbank are also participating banks in the deal.