Terra-Gen closes US$1 billion financing for second phase of world’s largest solar-plus-storage project

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Developer Terra-Gen has closed US$969 million in project financing for the second phase of Edwards Sanborn Solar-plus-Storage facility in California, which will bring it to 3,291MWh of energy storage capacity.

The $959 million financing comprises a US$460 million construction and term loan facility and a US$96 million construction and revolving letter of credit facility, led by BNP Paribas, CoBank, ING, and Nomura Securities, as well as a US$403 million tax equity bridge facility from U.S. Bank.

The Edwards Sanborn Solar-plus-Storage facility in Kern County will total 755MW of solar PV alongside the battery energy storage when the second phase comes online over Q3 and Q4 2022 and Q3 2023. It combines both stand-alone battery storage and batteries which charge from the PV.

The first phase came online late last year, as reported by Energy-Storage.news, meaning 345 MW of PV and 1,505 MWh are already operational. The second phase will add 410MW of nameplate solar PV (358MW at the point of interconnection) and 1,786 MWh of battery storage.

The solar PV is expected to come online in Q4 2022 and the battery storage should be fully operational in Q3 2023.

Mortenson is providing engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services on both the solar and energy storage. First Solar is supplying the solar modules and LG Chem, Samsung and BYD are supplying the batteries.

Unsurprisingly for a project of this size and scope, the eventual total size and capacity has changed several times since it was first announced and a third phase has now been announced making the combined site even larger. The energy storage component has been increased several times and appears to be growing further, while the solar may have been reduced or delayed.

From a planned total of 1,118MW of solar and 2,165MWh of energy storage when first announced in December 2020, Terra-Gen said it is now advancing development on future phases that will include over 2,000MW of incremental solar and energy storage. These future phases will be financed in 2023 and begin to come online in 2024.

Jim Pagano, Terra-Gen CEO, said: “Consistent with the first phase of the Edwards Sanborn project, the second phase deploys an innovate offtake structure that has been well received in the financing markets and allows us to raise the capital necessary to progress the construction of this transformative project.”

Offtakers for the project include cafe chain Starbucks and Clean Power Alliance (CPA), one of California’s growing ranks of Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) groups.

Investor-owned utility PG&E is also procuring a substantial chunk – 169MW/676MWh – of the project’s power through the California ISO’s (CAISO) Resource Adequacy framework, the means by which CAISO ensures utilities have enough supply to meet demand (with a reserve margin).

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