Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Swift Current Energy raises $779 million for massive solar project in Illinois

Swift Current Energy has secured $779 million in funding for its 800 MWdc (593 MWac) Double Black Diamond Solar Project.

The project was funded by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) and Societe Generale, based in Japan and France, respectively. The funding consists of $695 million in construction and tax equity bridge loans and establishing a credit facility worth $84 million. The green loan structuring agent was ING, and the collateral and depository agents were Wilmington Trust.

McCarthy Building Companies is the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) partner for the site, with around 450 construction staff working on the project.

The majority of solar panels and solar trackers will be manufactured by US-based company Nextracer. Solar trackers rotate the solar panels to follow the sun’s movement across the sky, increasing output by more than 25-30% compared to fixed tilt applications.

Swift Current Energy, owned by BAES Infrastructure, IFM Net Zero Infrastructure Fund, and Lookout Ridge Energy Partners, is the project developer and will be the long-term owner and operator.

Swift Current Energy also announced that several entities have entered into agreements to purchase some of the electricity produced by the Double Black Diamond project. US energy supplier Constellation will buy the same power as the city of Chicago. However, Swift Current Energy did not specify the capacity or financial details of the contract.

Nextracker recently established local manufacturing facilities in Chicago, Harvey, Illinois, and Pittsburgh, retooling its supply chain and producing domestically from 1 GW to 25 GW.

When the Double Black Diamond project becomes operational, it is expected to be the largest solar project in MISO and the second-largest single-phase solar project in the US. The project will generate enough energy to power more than 100,000 homes annually and reduce regional carbon dioxide emissions by approximately one million tons annually.

The project will generate $100 million in tax revenue for Sangamon and Morgan counties throughout its operation.

Swift Current Energy’s Double Black Diamond project is 30 miles west of Springfield, Illinois. It is currently under construction and will be commercially operational in 2024.