Lightsource bp has successfully closed on a $533 million multi-project financing package and mobilised construction on its 345 megawatt (dc) Ventress Solar project located 30 miles northwest of Baton Rouge in Pointe Coupee Parish. Lightsource bp will build, own and operate the facility and sell the clean, renewable energy it generates to McDonald’s Corporation and eBay Inc. under long-term power purchase agreements.
Emma Cox, Global Renewable Energy Lead at McDonald’s: “This unique partnership between Lightsource bp, eBay and McDonald’s is an example of how large brands can come together to drive meaningful impact at a local level. We’re thrilled to see our values come to life in a project like Ventress Solar and realise this important next step toward it coming online.”
Ventress Solar project supported by world-class finance partners
Ventress Solar is part of a 480 megawatt, $533 million portfolio financing package for multiple solar projects. Debt for the portfolio was provided by the following Mandated Lead Arrangers, with the balance of equity requirements invested and supported by Lightsource bp.
- HSBC Bank USA, National Association (HSBC Bank USA, N.A.), part of HSBC Group, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations, serving customers through wealth and personal banking, commercial banking, private banking, and global banking and markets segments. HSBC also acted as a Coordinating Lead Arranger.
- ING Capital LLC (ING), 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. ING also acted as the Green Loan Coordinator.
- Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A., New York Branch (Intesa Sanpaolo), one of the top banking groups in Europe, serving corporate customers across 25 countries worldwide. Intesa Sanpaolo is recognised as one of the most sustainable banks in the world and is committed to becoming a reference model in terms of sustainability and social and cultural responsibility. Intesa Sanpaolo also acted as a Coordinating Lead Arranger.
- NatWest, a 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.
- Societe Generale, one of the leading European financial services groups. Based on a diversified and integrated banking model, the Group combines financial strength and proven expertise in innovation with a strategy of sustainable growth.
- Standard Chartered Bank, an international banking group with a presence in 59 of the world’s most dynamic markets. Its Americas franchise provides financial products and services to multi-national corporations, financial institutions and development organisations through its Corporate and Institutional Banking business, and plays a key role in facilitating international trade and investment flows between the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
In just two years, the Lightsource bp team has raised over $2.3 billion in financing for its projects in ten states across the US.
Bringing environmental and economic benefits to the local community
Kevin Smith, CEO of the Americas, Lightsource bp: “Beyond improving the health and energy security of communities across America, large-scale solar projects help strengthen local economies. As the owner and operator of the Ventress solar farm, we look forward to bringing economic benefits to Pointe Coupee Parish, along with fostering long-term community partnerships.”
Construction of the Ventress solar farm will:
- Create approximately 400 construction jobs for 21-24 months, to be filled mainly by local workers
- Provide an estimated $30 million dollar boost to Pointe Coupee Parish over the project life – providing additional funding for schools, fire departments, libraries and health services – without a tax increase on its citizens
- Deliver an indirect economic impact of over $200 million, according to a study by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, an economic development agency supporting the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area
- Abate about 450,000 metric tons of GHG emissions annually, equivalent to annual emissions from about 99,000 fuel burning cars
Construction has started, with full commercial operation expected in late 2023. LPL Solar has been selected by Lightsource bp as the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contractor for the photovoltaic (PV) solar plant. Ampirical Solutions, headquartered in Louisiana, has been selected as the EPC for the project substation and the switchyard.
Image source: Courtesy of Lightsource bp
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