National Grid Renewables closes financing for 200 MW solar project


National Grid Renewables announced that it has closed $98 million in tax equity financing from Bank of America to support its Prairie Wolf Solar Project, a 200 MW project that began construction earlier this year in Coles County, Illinois.

According to National Grid Renewables, Bank of America is the sole tax equity investor for the project and the $98 million investment entirely fulfills the tax equity funding requirement for project.

Construction on Prairie Wolf began in February 2021, and the project is expected to achieve commercial operation by the end of this year. Swinerton Renewable Energy is construction the project, and agribusiness giant Cargill has signed up to purchase the energy generated by the plant, under a Virtual Power Purchase Agreement announced in 2020.

The Prairie project is a bit of a unicorn, as far as installations in Illinois go. For starters, the project’s 200 MW of capacity will represent a nearly 33% increase in the state’s total installed capacity once it achieves operation. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reports Illinois has installed roughly 685 MW to date.

The project also comes at an unprecedented size for the state, being not only the largest, but also one of just a few utility-scale projects in the state. Of the 685 MW installed thus far, the vast majority have been distributed residential and commercial projects, according to SEIA, with community solar gaining some traction as of late.

Image: SEIA

Prairie Wolf would mark a notable capacity addition in a difficult 2021 for the state, making up for some of the projects that were stalled as Illinois waited to approve a new solar incentive program.

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