BayWa r.e. Solar Projects announced the completion of construction on the 133.6-MWDC Fern Solar project in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. Fern is the largest project developed and built to date by BayWa r.e. in the U.S. and the first large solar asset the company will own and operate.
BayWa r.e is partnering on a solar job training program with the Center for Energy Education (C4EE) in North Carolina. The training targets residents who are unemployed or underemployed and in need of a second chance. Graduates of the program include military veterans seeking work in the solar industry. C4EE graduates earn first consideration for hire at local solar project sites. After graduation, each student receives an OSHA 10 certification card, safety equipment and a certificate of course completion. The company will continue to work with local communities to further develop and expand future programs.
The Fern project benefits from pioneering virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs), including a first-of-its-kind agreement that brings together five companies separately contracting similar portions of the plant’s power generation. Facilitated by LevelTen Energy, the VPPA brought together an anchor tenant group comprised of Bloomberg, Cox Enterprises, Gap Inc., Salesforce and Workday to form a Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group, which will purchase the output of 42.5 MW of the plant’s installed generating capacity. Starbucks entered into a separate VPPA for 46 MW.
BayWa r.e. secured tax equity and construction financing from RBC Capital Markets, which syndicated a tax equity investment commitment, and construction and permanent debt from Rabobank and Banco Sabadell. The project will be added to the company’s operating portfolio.
“Fern Solar is our largest solar project built to date in the U.S., but it is more than a milestone renewable project — it’s a story about how companies and people can come together to move the needle forward,” said Jam Attari, CEO of BayWa r.e. Solar Projects. “The world is rapidly transitioning to clean energy, and we’ll get there faster when we innovate together.”
A virtual ribbon-cutting for the Fern Solar project will take place Nov. 19, with participation from partner companies, community members, and BayWa r.e. representatives. For more info and to register, click here.
News item from BayWa r.e. Solar Projects