Southern Power buys controlling interest in 200-MW Garland solar project

Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) subsidiary Southern Power announced Dec. 18 the acquisition of a controlling interest in the 200-MW (ac) Garland solar facility, now under construction in California, from Recurrent Energy, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar.

Southern Power now owns more than 650 MW across nine operating or planned facilities in California.

“Our solar expansion in California began in earnest with our acquisition of the Campo Verde solar project in 2013,” said Southern Power President and CEO Oscar C. Harper. “Since then, our strategic acquisitions – both in the state of California and nationally – have created one of America’s largest renewable portfolios with more than 1,800 MW of generation in seven states.”

Recurrent Energy is constructing the facility and will retain the remaining interest in the project. Southern Power and Recurrent Energy have now announced the development of three jointly-owned projects that together are expected to generate more than 550 MW of solar electricity in California and Texas.

“With this agreement, Recurrent Energy and Southern Power are partnering to bring more than half a gigawatt of solar power online by the end of 2016,” said Canadian Solar Chairman and CEO Dr. Shawn Qu. “Southern Power’s commitment to renewables underscores the important role of solar and is a clear indicator that our large-scale solar facilities are attractive assets.” 

Construction of the Garland solar facility began this month, with Signal Energy Constructors managing the engineering, procurement and construction of the facility. The project is being built on two sites totaling approximately 2,000 acres in Kern County, California, and is expected to create more than 300 construction jobs. The Garland solar facility is Southern Power’s fourth solar project in Kern County.

The facility will consist of more than 800,000 polycrystalline photovoltaic solar modules, mounted on single-axis tracking tables, and is expected to enter commercial operation in the fourth quarter of 2016. The electricity and associated renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by the facility will be sold under two long-term power purchase agreements with Southern California Edison (SCE), which will have the option to keep or sell the RECs.  

With one of America’s most robust renewable generation portfolios, Southern Power has announced, acquired or is constructing more than 1,800 MW of owned renewable generation with 24 solar, wind and biomass projects, including nine solar projects in California.

Southern Power is a leading U.S. wholesale energy provider, meeting the electricity needs of municipalities, electric cooperatives and investor-owned utilities. Southern Power and its subsidiaries own or have rights to 33 facilities in nine states, with more than 10,400 MW of generating capacity operating or under development in Alabama, California, Florida,Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas.

Recurrent Energy has more than 4 GW of solar projects in development in North America. Founded in 2001 in Canada, Canadian Solar (NASDAQ: CSIQ) is a leading manufacturer of solar photovoltaic modules and a provider of solar energy solutions. In the past 14 years, Canadian Solar has successfully deployed over 12 GW of premium quality modules in over 70 countries around the world.

Canadian Solar separately announced on Dec. 18 that Recurrent Energy has closed on a combined construction and term debt facility, with a syndicate of five banks, for the Garland project. With NORD/LB as the Coordinating Lead Arranger, five banks, including CIT, KeyBanc, Rabobank, and Santander, will provide project-level construction debt, LC facilities and a back-leveraged term facility, totaling approximately $480 million.

“With the closing of the Garland solar project, we remain on target to connect over 1.2 GWp of solar power to the grid in the U.S. during 2016,” said Shawn Qu of Canadian Solar. “The high caliber of the bank syndicate involved in this transaction speaks to the underlying quality of our projects and our collective team.”

“NORD/LB is pleased to support Recurrent Energy on this important transaction. Garland represents yet another key step in our evolving relationship with Recurrent, one of the industry’s leading solar developers. We look forward to partnering with Recurrent andCanadian Solar on future projects,” said Nicolai Dillow, Managing Director and North American Head of Originations.  

The Garland project, covering an area of approximately 2,000 acres in Kern County, will primarily utilize Canadian Solar high performance CS6X-P photovoltaic solar modules mounted on single-axis tracking tables. The project is expected to create more than 300 construction jobs.

NORD/LB is a financial group with a presence in North America, Europe, and Asia. The bank specializes in asset-backed lending to energy projects. In North America, NORD/LB has lent more than $ 6bn to support the acquisition, construction, and operation of major utility scale power plants and other energy investments.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.