Longroad Energy installing U.S.-made First Solar modules in Arizona solar-plus-storage plant


Longroad announced the financial close of the 220 MWdc solar and 214 MWac / 855 MWh Serrano solar-plus-storage project in Pinal and Pima Counties, Arizona. Construction is now underway, and is expected to be complete by mid-2025.

Serrano represents the continuation of a longstanding partnership between U.S.-based solar manufacturer First Solar and Longroad. Serrano is the fourth Arizona project using First Solar’s modules that Longroad has financed in four years, and Longroad’s first to use First Solar’s Series 7 panels that are made in the U.S. First Solar has a manufacturing facility in Ohio and recently expanded operations to Alabama and Louisiana.

“We are proud to support American manufacturing and the domestic solar supply chain as we expand our solar footprint in the robust Arizona market, which now surpasses 1.5 GW of operating or under construction projects,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of Longroad Energy.”

The 214 MWac / 855 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) will be provided by U.S.-based energy storage platform provider Powin. The BESS will include SMA inverters and cells from AESC, which will be integrated into Powin’s Modular and Scalable Centipede Energy Storage Platform.

Nextracker is supplying trackers for the project and Sungrow is supplying the solar inverters.

Operations and maintenance (O&M) services for the project will be provided by NovaSource Power Services and Longroad’s affiliate Longroad Energy Services. Longterm O&M services for the BESS will be provided by Longroad, in conjunction with Powin and NovaSource Power Services.

Arizona Public Service (APS) will be the offtaker of electricity from the plant through a long-term power purchase agreement. The project will generate enough electricity to power roughly 61,000 Arizona homes.

“APS is widely regarded for providing top-quality, reliable service to our customers, and solar plus storage resources like the Serrano project bring value to Arizonans,” said Brian Cole, APS Vice President of Resource Management. “Our investment in cost-effective, renewable projects enhances our diverse energy mix, providing customers with power that is reliable, affordable and clean.”

Serrano is the fourth large-scale solar facility in Arizona being built by McCarthy for Longroad and is expected to employ over 300 people during the construction process. McCarthy is using registered apprentices and reports it will be paying prevailing wage to all workers on the project, in accordance with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Longroad estimates that the solar produced by Serrano represents over 330,000 metric tons of avoided CO2 emissions annually, or the equivalent of taking approximately 75,000 gas-powered cars off the road. Additionally the project is expected to contribute more than $25 million in revenue for Arizona schools and communities through its long-term Right of Way grant with the Arizona State Land Department and tax remittances.

Debt financing was led by CIBC and Societe Generale and included ANZ, PNC, Commerzbank AG, and U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance. CIBC acted as Coordinating Lead Arranger, Administrative Agent, Collateral Agent, and Green Loan Coordinator. Societe Generale acted as Coordinating Lead Arranger. U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance served as Joint Lead Arranger and Depositary Bank. Athene Annuity and Life Insurance Company, an affiliate of Apollo Global Management, is the project’s tax equity investor and was advised by Apterra Infrastructure Capital.

“Our continued role in supporting Longroad in the build out of their development pipeline is one example of CIBC’s commitment to the U.S. renewable energy and energy transition space as we work towards enabling a more sustainable and inclusive economy,” said Peter O’Neill, head of U.S. project finance and infrastructure at CIBC.

Longroad Energy Holdings has developed or acquired 5.4 GW of renewable energy projects across the U.S. and raised over $14.5 billion of equity, debt, and tax equity to support completion of its portfolio. Serrano expands Longroad’s solar footprint in Arizona to more than 1.5 GW of operating or under construction projects.

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