Canadian Solar Inc. (the "Company", or "Canadian Solar") (NASDAQ: CSIQ), one of the world's largest solar power companies, today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Recurrent Energy, one of North America's largest solar project developers, closed on a tax equity investment commitment with GE (NYSE: GE) unit GE Energy Financial Services for the 100 megawatt (MWac) Astoria solar power project. Recurrent Energy also closed a debt facility for the Astoria project, currently under construction in California.
Recurrent Energy will be the managing member of the Astoria solar power project and plans to own and operate the facility. Santander Bank, N.A. (Santander) was the coordinating lead arranger of a five member bank club including, NORD/LB, Rabobank, Key Bank, and CIT Bank, which will provide project-level construction debt, a letter of credit facility and a back-leveraged term loan facility, totaling approximately $260 million.
"GE is a widely respected renewable energy investor and we are proud to begin this partnership for the Astoria project," said Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar. "It is also a privilege to continue our work with this group of lenders as our team continues a long history of successful solar development in Southern California."
"We are pleased to invest in our first solar project alongside Recurrent Energy and Canadian Solar and to support a world class solar project employing technology supplied by GE Power Conversion," said Kevin Walsh, managing director and head of renewable energy at GE Energy Financial Services.
The Astoria project is GE Energy Financial Services' latest renewable energy investment. The company committed over $2 billion in nearly two gigawatts of solar power projects worldwide and continues to invest $1 billion annually.
"The Astoria solar project, Santander's fourth financing of a Recurrent Energy plant in the U.S. this year, is another milestone in our fruitful cooperation to build renewable energy projects," said Jorge Camina, Head of Project Finance at Santander Bank. "This is another example of our commitment to support projects that are good for the environment and create jobs to help stimulate the economy."
The Astoria solar power project, located in Kern County, is expected to reach commercial operation in the fourth quarter of 2016 and will utilize 46 GE 1500V inverters. The project is expected to generate enough clean solar energy to power approximately 33,250 homes. The electricity and associated renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by the facility will be sold under power purchase agreements. The Astoria project is half of a two project portfolio. The Astoria 2 solar project is expected to close financing before the end of the year.