We are honored to receive the “Renewables Deal of the Year” award from Project Finance International (PFI).
This award recognizes our Orion project portfolio that includes three utility-scale solar projects in energy communities that have seen higher-than-average unemployment due to coal closures or fossil fuel retirements.
Our Orion projects are also the first utility-scale projects in the U.S. to reach financial close with the domestic content adder, a provision in the IRA designed to strengthen America’s manufacturing base.
With these first-of-their kind financings, we are proud to have created a blueprint for deploying clean infrastructure that advances America’s prosperity and wellbeing.
From Project Finance International:
SB Energy Global, a US-focused unit of Japan’s SoftBank and funds managed by Ares Management, secured more than US$2.4bn to support energy communities with renewable energy in Milam County, Texas. Banks including MUFG, Mizuho Americas, ING, SMBC, CIBC, Fifth Third Bank, and Societe Generale provided US$1.2bn in construction debt and US$450m in term debt. JP Morgan, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley Renewables and Truist Bank provided approximately US$800m in tax equity. The financing backs a 1.3GW portfolio of four utility-scale solar projects in energy communities that have seen higher-than-average unemployment due to coal closures or fossil fuel retirements. The projects – Orion I, Eiffel, Orion II, and Orion III – are eligible for additional tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act.
The Orion portfolio was financed via three separate transactions, all closed within a few months of each other with the same sponsor, offtaker, and location near Austin, Texas. Mizuho led Orion I and Orion III while MUFG led Orion II. JP Morgan served as tax equity provider on Orion I, Morgan Stanley Renewables served as tax equity provider on Orion II, and Truist Securities served as tax equity provider on Orion III. Projects in the portfolio are also among the first utility-scale projects in the US to reach financial close with the domestic content adder, a provision in the IRA designed to strengthen America’s manufacturing base. To qualify, SB Energy is using 1.1m high domestic content solar modules manufactured in Ohio by First Solar. Nextracker is supplying trackers with recently expanded component providers in multiple states, including Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Tennessee. All structural steel on the projects will be sourced from Texas and Georgia.
Google is purchasing approximately 75% of the energy from the four projects under a 15-year power purchase agreement to power its data centres in Texas.
SB has 2GW of solar in operation and 1GW in construction, and another 15GW of solar and 12GW of storage under development. The company said it is continuing to explore the IRA’s expansion of tax credits and new approaches to tax equity, including transferability. Latham & Watkins served as lenders’ counsel. Kirkland & Ellis and Milbank served as borrowers’ counsel.