8minutenergy Renewables, LLC (8minutenergy) and an affiliate of D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments, L.L.C. (DESRI) announced the completion of permitting, financial closing, and start of construction of the 191 MWdc (150 MWac) Springbok 2 Solar Farm, located 70 miles north of Los Angeles in Kern County, California.
8minutenergy recently announced that it had signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) for the Springbok 2 Solar Farm with the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA), on behalf of its participating member, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). DESRI invested the majority of the equity in the project and arranged senior debt financing from a syndicate of lenders led by Santander Bank, N.A., which also included CIT Bank, NA, KeyBank, N.A., HSBC Bank, CoBank, ACB, Siemens Financial Services, and Citi. In addition, DESRI arranged a commitment for tax equity financing from State Street Bank & Trust Company and Citi.
Combined with the 137 MWdc (105 MWac) Springbok 1 Solar Farm that DESRI and 8minutenergy began constructing in July, the two new solar facilities are expected to generate enough clean, renewable energy to serve over 110,300 Los Angeles households. The amount of greenhouse gas emissions avoided will be comparable to removing 71,400 cars from the road.
“The recent signing of the Springbok 2 PPA and the completion of permitting and beginning of construction are yet more milestones that reflect 8minutenergy’s record of success,” said 8minutenergy Chief Executive Officer Martin Hermann. “We are proud to have established ourselves as the leading independent solar provider in the U.S. with 1,400MW of contracted projects, and we’re pleased to sell our second project to DESRI this year.”
Springbok 2 Solar Farm is a utility-scale solar generation facility sited on up to about 700 acres of abandoned farmland taken out of production more than 20 years ago. 8minutenergy began developing the project in 2011, and it is expected to reach its commercial operations date in the fourth quarter of 2016. As with Springbok 1, 8minutenergy selected Swinerton Renewable Energy as the engineering, procurement and construction firm of Springbok 2, with affiliates of 8minutenergy and DESRI overseeing construction management and further development.
“DESRI is thrilled to add another world-class solar project to its portfolio,” said Bryan Martin, managing director and head of U.S. Private Equity for the D. E. Shaw group. “We have enjoyed working with SCPPA, LADWP, and the 8minutenergy team to develop a facility that we expect will provide clean power to Los Angeles for years to come.”
Job fairs for construction of both Springbok projects were held in Kern County in September. Both projects are individually expected to create an estimated 300 direct and 400 indirect jobs during construction in Kern County.
“The Springbok projects are impactful on many fronts, from helping Los Angeles secure a clean energy future to creating an estimated 300 direct and 400 indirect jobs for each project during construction in Kern County,” said Tom Buttgenbach, President of 8minutenergy, noting that job fairs for construction of both Springbok projects were held in Kern County in September.
The solar power system for Springbok 2 Solar Farm will be comprised of state-of-the-art solar photovoltaic modules, related power electronics, and other components including an advanced tracking system that follows the sun to maximize energy production.