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Lightsource bp completes $285M financing and mobilizes construction on Bighorn Solar project in Colorado

02/10/2020

Lightsource bp has successfully closed on a $285 million financing package for its Bighorn Solar project, which will be located on EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel mill property in Pueblo. Xcel Energy, as the electrical provider for the steel mill, will purchase the power generated by the solar facility under a long-term contract with Lightsource bp. The competitive price of solar energy and its long-term budget certainty helps to ensure that the steel mill, along with 1,000 local workers, will remain in Pueblo. Additionally, EVRAZ has announced it is moving forward with construction of a new long rail mill in Pueblo.

Governor Jared Polis commented:
“This collaborative project will not only bring more jobs to Pueblo, but also supports Colorado’s goal of reaching 100% renewable energy by 2040. The EVRAZ steel mill is a staple of Pueblo’s incredible history and will now also serve as a pillar of our state’s clean energy future.”

World-class debt and equity finance partners support US transition to low carbon energy

Lightsource bp secured tax equity financing for the project from Bank of America. The debt for the facility was provided by the following Mandated Lead Arrangers:

  • Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), is 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, which is one of the three largest banking groups in Japan. In the Americas, the Group has a presence in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Peru.
  • Societe Generale is one of the leading European financial services groups, employing over 138,000 members of staff in 62 countries and supporting on a daily basis 29 million individual clients, businesses and institutional investors around the world.
  • Export Development Canada (EDC), Canada’s export credit agency since 1944, is dedicated to supporting and developing trade between Canada and other countries. Underlying all EDC support is a commitment to sustainable and responsible business. EDC is the largest financier of Canada’s clean technology sector, facilitating over $9 billion in Canadian cleantech since 2012.

The balance of the equity requirements will be invested by Lightsource bp. CohnReznick Capital was engaged as the tax equity advisor for the project.

Kevin Smith, CEO of the Americas for Lightsource bp said:
“Partnership with these leading investment institutions enables us to work together to achieve our shared ambitions for a sustainable and profitable future. With their support, along with that of our local partners, we’re materially benefitting the environment as well as Colorado’s economy – delivering affordable and clean energy that the world demands and needs.”

Alice Jackson, President, Xcel Energy Colorado added:
“We are excited to see Lightsource bp taking the next step toward building the Bighorn Solar project. This collaboration between Xcel Energy, EVRAZ North America and Lightsource bp is proof that when innovative companies work together we can create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and support our communities and the environment.”

Construction has mobilized, with the majority of the workers to be hired locally

In addition to the local economic value that Bighorn Solar is bringing to Pueblo through its benefits to the economics of the steel mill and the new long rail mill, the solar project will create approximately 300 direct jobs on site during the 12 to 14 month construction period, with the majority of the workers hired from the local community.

Construction has started with commercial operation expected by late 2021. McCarthy Building Companies was selected by Lightsource bp as their Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) Contractor for the project who will install nearly 750,000 Canadian Solar bifacial solar panels on approximately 1,600 acres of land located on the EVRAZ steel mill site with some supplemental land provided by the City of Pueblo and private landowners. McCarthy has a track record of successfully building large utility-scale projects in Colorado and is committed to recruiting and hiring from the local workforce.

Skip Herald, President and Chief Executive Officer of EVRAZ North America commented:
"We congratulate Lightsource bp on reaching this important milestone and are excited to see construction begin on the Bighorn solar project that will supply clean energy to EVRAZ Pueblo.

EVRAZ Pueblo will be the first steel mill in North America to rely on solar power as we proudly use renewable energy to turn recycled scrap metal into new, clean steel, including the most sustainable rail in the world.”

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