‘Ready to start’ | Funding blocked for the largest solar-plus-battery project ever in the United States

Australian investment house Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners and American developer Solar Primer closed $1.9 billion in construction debt and tax equity financing for the Gemini PV-plus-storage project in the state of Nevada, which is expected to be the largest solar hybrid development ever in the United States a online in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Debt financing for the megaproject, which will connect a 690 MW photovoltaic power plant and a 1,417 MWh (380 MW) battery energy storage system at a site on federal land in the Mohave Desert, includes 1, $3 billion in credit facilities, including a construction/term loan, a tax equity bridge loan and a letter of credit facility.

The four main arrangers responsible for coordinating the financing were Bank of America, KeyBanc Capital Markets, MUFG Bank and Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale. Voya Investment Management provided the $95 million mezzanine credit facility.

Quinbrook and Primergy, one of its wholly-owned holding companies, said Bank of America and Truist Bank provided $532 million in tax equity, a pledge billed as the largest tax equity solar financing ever. in the USA.

“With suppliers and contractors committed and financing secured, we are ready to begin construction on this unprecedented project,” said Ty Daul, CEO of Primergy.

From its site 53 km (33 miles) northeast of Las Vegas, the project would be able to generate enough clean energy to power the city, the 26th largest city in the United States and a resort destination of internationally renowned populated by mega hotel-casinos,

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The project has a 25-year power purchase agreement with NV Energy, the state’s main electric utility that is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate.

Last month, Primergy selected Kiewit Energy Builders as Gemini’s engineering, procurement and construction partner and IHI Terrasun as battery ESS integrator. Maxeon Solar Technologies, spun off from SunPower in 2020, will supply bifacial solar modules from an American factory.

The Energy Information Administration expects utility-scale solar power to represent nearly half of the 85 GW of planned power generation capacity installed this year and in 2023 with 60% associated with battery storage, as new wind development slows as federal subsidy support ends.

Michael J. Birnbaum