Lightsource bp closes financing package and mobilizes construction on 293 megawatt Colorado solar project

  • Lightsource bp’s second project in Pueblo to create 300 jobs during construction
  • Power contract with Xcel Energy facilitated project financing
  • Marks Lightsource bp’s fourth tax equity investment with Bank of America

Pueblo, CO Lightsource bp has successfully closed on a $376 million multi-project financing package and mobilized construction on its 293 megawatt (dc) Sun Mountain solar project located in Pueblo, Colorado. Lightsource bp will build, own and operate the facility and deliver the solar energy it generates to Xcel Energy under a long-term power purchase agreement. The project is Lightsource bp’s second in the city, representing cumulatively almost 600 megawatts of renewable energy infrastructure to support Colorado’s clean energy future, the equivalent of taking more than 175,000 cars off the road each year.

Project supported by world-class finance partners committed to growth of renewable energy

Sun Mountain Solar is part of a 466 megawatt, $376 million portfolio financing package for multiple solar projects. The tax equity investment for the portfolio was secured from Bank of America, marking its fourth transaction with Lightsource bp over the past two years. Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses, and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management, and other financial and risk management products and services. The company’s focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership helps it drive responsible growth.

Debt for the portfolio was provided by the following mandated lead arrangers:

  • ING Capital LLC, a financial services firm offering a full array of wholesale financial lending products and advisory services to its corporate and institutional clients. ING Capital LLC is an indirect U.S. subsidiary of ING Bank NV, part of ING Group NV, a global financial institution.
  • Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), a member of SMBC Group, a top-tier global financial group headquartered in Tokyo. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Inc. (SMFG) is the holding company of SMBC Group.
  • HSBC Bank USA, National Association (HSBC Bank USA, N.A.), part of HSBC Group, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations, serving customers through wealth and personal banking, commercial banking, private banking, and global banking and markets segments.
  • NatWest, a leading project financing lender in Europe and long-standing partner of Lightsource bp globally. They are a major retail and commercial bank that provides global market access and trading, financing, risk management and transaction banking services. In October 2021 NatWest Group announced an additional £100 billion for Climate and Sustainable Funding and Financing by the end of 2025.

The balance of the equity requirements will be invested by Lightsource bp.

Kevin Smith, CEO of the Americas, Lightsource bp: This project financing transaction is a demonstration of the continued confidence that top-tier investors have in Lightsource bp, and the quality and bankability of our solar assets. Our commitment to responsible solar development delivers further value and contributes to the environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals of Lightsource bp and our investment partners.”

Alice Jackson, president, Xcel Energy – Colorado: “Xcel Energy is excited to continue our leadership to serve customers with affordable carbon-free electricity, and we’re pleased to bring on Sun Mountain as part of that progress. The project with Lightsource bp takes advantage of southern Colorado’s outstanding solar resources, delivering clean energy to our system while supporting Pueblo’s economy and helping position the region as a growing renewable energy hub.”

Growing renewable energy industry is creating good-paying careers in construction

Full construction has started, with commercial operation expected by late 2022. McCarthy Building Companies was selected by Lightsource bp as the Engineer, Procure, and Construct (EPC) contractor for the project. McCarthy has a proven track record of successfully building large utility-scale projects in Colorado, including Lightsource bp’s Bighorn Solar project, also in Pueblo.

Scott Canada, senior vice president of McCarthy’s Renewable Energy & Storage team: “Partnering with Lightsource bp on another solar project in Pueblo, Colorado is very exciting – it provides another opportunity to offer McCarthy’s craft and foreman training programs, which are used at our Lightsource bp projects, and opens the door to new exciting careers in the rapidly growing solar industry for more area residents. We are proud of the success of our programs as many of those who helped build Bighorn Solar will be transitioning to join our team at Sun Mountain, furthering their careers while helping to expand Colorado’s diverse energy infrastructure.”

The Sun Mountain Solar project will create 300 jobs during the 12-to-14-month construction period, to be filled mainly by local workers. Nearly 100 of the workers from Bighorn Solar will be transitioning to construct Sun Mountain, with 200 additional workers to be recruited from the local community.

Sixto Reyes, Pueblo resident and native, pile driver at Bighorn Solar, now working at Sun Mountain: “I used to be in the restaurant industry. That just wasn’t a good fit for me and my family because of the pay and odd hours. Working in solar means that I have the opportunity to build a career in which I can not only grow and advance but also have more quality time with my family. The job creation that has come with these two solar projects is awesome for our area.”

 

Resources

Sun Mountain project website