U.S.-sourced 500 MW solar / 1 GWh storage project in California achieves operations


Intersect Power announced it has achieved commercial operations for its Oberon solar project in Riverside County, California.

The facility includes 500 MWac of solar and 250 MW / 1 GWh of co-located battery energy storage. The project, among the largest solar facilities in the United States, is large enough to provide power for over 207,000 homes per year.

In-line with Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) priorities of using domestic content in solar projects, the Oberon project consists of First Solar modules from Ohio, NX Horizon trackers from U.S.-based Nextracker, and U.S.-made structural steel. The energy storage is comprised of batteries from Tesla’s battery facility in Lathrop, California.

More than 900 skilled union jobs were created at peak construction. Intersect hired labor from California’s LiUNA Local 1184, IBEW Local 440 and others, prioritizing local area hires.

“[The project is] a case study in how the clean energy industry can maximize project benefits by prioritizing domestic supply chains and union labor to ensure the rewards of the clean energy transition are felt by all Americans,” said Intersect Power chief executive officer, Sheldon Kimber. “This project demonstrates that Intersect continues to pioneer procurement standards for our industry that live up to the vision of the IRA and deliver transformative clean energy projects that move the needle on the deep decarbonization of our economy.”

The Oberon project is also the first to achieve operations through a streamlined Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. Over 10 million acres of conservation and recreation lands were designated as part of the plan, while also designating Development Focus Areas for renewable energy. The plan resulted from six years of collaboration between the federal government, conservation groups, Native American tribes, the renewable energy industry, utilities, and members of the public.

Energy, Renewable Energy Credits and Resource Adequacy generated by the Oberon project will be purchased by a combination of offtakers including Calpine Energy Solutions, Constellation, Ava Community Energy (formerly East Bay Community Energy), Microsoft, and San Diego Community Power.

The portfolio term debt was provided by certain funds and accounts managed by HPS Investment Partners, and other co-investors. The tax equity was provided by Morgan Stanley Renewables Inc. and U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance. Construction debt was provided by Coordinating Lead Arrangers MUFG and Santander Corporate & Investment Banking, along with CoBank, KeyBanc Capital Markets, Helaba, Bank of America, Zions Capital Markets and Nord LB as Joint Lead Arrangers and SuMi TRUST as a participant.

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP represented Intersect as lead counsel, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as Intersect’s special tax counsel. CCA Capital LLC advised IP on the tax equity transactions; Greenberg Traurig served as counsel to U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance; and Winston & Strawn LLP served as counsel to the construction lenders.

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