Swift Current Energy announced it has secured project financing for the 800 MWdc / 593 MWac Double Black Diamond solar project. Once operational, it will be the second largest solar project in the U.S. and the largest in the MISO regional transmission operation.
Over $779 million in project financing was closed for this project, making it among the largest solar project financings in U.S. history.
Located 30 miles west of Springfield, Illinois, the project is currently under construction and expected to reach commercial operations in 2024. The project is expected to produce enough electricity to provide the equivalent of 100,000 homes and will offset an estimated 1 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
Approximately 450 construction workers are employed at the site, and McCarthy Building Companies is operating as the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) partner. First Solar modules, the majority of which are manufactured in the U.S., and U.S.-made Nextracker solar trackers were selected for the project.
“Double Black Diamond Solar is a transformative project, not only for our team, but also the American workers it is employing, the massive amount of emissions-free energy it will produce, and the stable revenue it will provide for the communities in Sangamon and Morgan counties,” said Eric Lammers, chief executive officer and co-founder, Swift Current Energy.
Over the life of its operations, the project is expected to provide $100 million in tax revenue to Sangamon and Morgan counties in central Illinois.
The financing includes $695 million in construction and tax equity bridge loans and an $84 million letter of credit facility. ING acted as the Green Loan Structuring Agent and Wilmington Trust acted as the collateral agent and depositary agent. Swift Current Energy is the project developer and will be the long-term owner and operator.
“Double Black Diamond will meaningfully advance the energy transition at the local, state and national level, while bringing tangible economic benefits to the local community and U.S. workers,” said Jamie Cemm, chief executive officer of BAES Infrastructure, majority owner of Swift Current Energy.
Illinois utility Constellation will purchase a portion of the electricity and renewable energy credits produced at the site. The City of Chicago will source renewable energy produced by the project to power several energy-intensive facilities, including Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport. Additionally, Cook County Illinois, CVS Health, Loyola University of Chicago, PPG, State Farm, and TransUnion have power purchase agreements via Constellation.
Vinson & Elkins LLP and Husch Blackwell LLP represented Swift Current in the transaction. Paul Hastings LLP advised MUFG, Societe Generale, Truist, and the other lenders party to the financing agreements.
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