Key Equipment Finance has provided a $7.8 million tax lease and a $1.9 million term loan to Radnor, Pa.-based Community Energy, Inc., a provider of utility-scale wind and solar projects, for community solar projects in Massachusetts totaling 3.75 MW (DC).
3.75 (DC) megawatt installations deliver sustainable solar
Split between solar farms in the Towns of Barre and Rutland, the projects will generate remote net metering credits. A Massachusetts commercial customer will purchase half the generation output, with the remainder purchased by residential community solar subscribers.
Financing customized with sale leaseback
Community Energy used sale-leaseback financing for the project, which includes a Power Purchase Agreement and allows monetization of the tax benefits, inclusive of the investment tax credit and depreciation. In this solar tax lease structure, Community Energy owns and operates the system and sells the power.
“Customized financing plays an important role by bringing the benefits of community solar to more customers,” said Doug Beebe, vice president of energy finance for Key Equipment Finance Clean Energy, which provides financing across all types of clean energy products. “It also contributes to Key’s broader sustainability goals.”
“The partners on these Massachusetts solar projects are leading the way on sustainability and climate change” said Brent Alderfer, CEO of Developer, Community Energy Solar. “Our leading corporate customer on this solar project, joined by local residents, agreed to buy the solar output under the National Grid Utility community solar program, and Key Equipment Finance, with its expert solar finance team, sealed the deal by providing project finance.”
Connecting for community solar
Community solar projects are built within the local region using the best solar technology and design to provide cost-effective solar under utility programs like this one with National Grid that allow businesses and residents to purchase a share of the solar electricity generated by the project. The customers get the full solar benefits, including locked-in electricity prices, without the need to build solar on what might be less-than-ideal sites on their property. For corporations, renewable energy is an increasingly important part of corporate environmental sustainability strategies, and community solar is one way to achieve that goal.
These community solar projects allowed National Grid utility customers the opportunity to subscribe for a portion of the solar generation, which provides electricity cost savings over the long term. Subscribers, including the commercial subscriber, are saving money and doing something positive for the environment by supporting the transition to renewable energy. The projects will send solar-generated electricity to the local utility grid where it is then delivered to local homes and businesses in the area.
Building cost-effective solar
Rutland Solar (990 kW-AC) was the first project to achieve commercial operation in 2017. The facility generated over 1.7 million kilowatt hours of clean energy each year; eliminating over 2.8 million pounds of CO₂ from the atmosphere annually, while powering the equivalent of approximately 135 average households.
Barre Solar is Community Energy’s second Massachusetts community solar garden. It is comprised of three co-located projects in the Town of Barre, totaling 1.9 MW (AC).
The system consists of 7,434 Hanwha 330-watt modules installed on fixed-tilt, ground-mounted racking, provided by RBI Solar, and interconnected to the National Grid electric distribution system at 13.8 kilovolts with SMA string inverters. The facility generates over 3 million kilowatt hours of clean energy each year, eliminating over 5 million pounds of CO₂ from the atmosphere annually while powering the equivalent of approximately 350 average households.
Barre Solar achieved commercial operation in 2018 and the system is operated by Community Energy Solar.