Canadian Solar Inc. (“Canadian Solar”) (NASDAQ: CSIQ) today announced its wholly-owned subsidiary, Recurrent Energy, LLC (“Recurrent Energy”), commenced construction on the 100 MWac Sunflower Solar Project located in Sunflower County, Mississippi. To support construction of the Sunflower solar project, Recurrent Energy recently closed debt financing totaling over $146 million, inclusive of construction loan and letter of credit commitments. The debt financing was provided by Norddeutsche Landesbank (“Nord/LB”) and Rabobank.
Sunflower is one of the first utility-scale solar projects to be constructed under a Build Transfer Agreement (“BTA”) in the United States. Recurrent Energy signed a BTA with Entergy Mississippi in 2018 designating the regulated utility to own the Sunflower solar project when it reaches commercial operation in early 2022. The BTA was approved via unanimous vote by the Mississippi Public Service Commission in April 2020.
“With the ongoing financing and construction challenges due to the pandemic, I am particularly proud that our team secured the necessary financing for construction and has executed on the ground to begin building what is expected to be the largest solar project in the Magnolia State. This demonstrates both the dedication and capabilities of our Recurrent Energy team and the strength of our trusted financing partners, Nord/LB and Rabobank,” said Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar. “We are very pleased to be charging ahead on the Sunflower solar project and look forward to successfully developing and constructing the project, creating a seamless transition of ownership to our valued customer, Entergy Mississippi.”
The Sunflower solar project is expected to employ approximately 400 workers at peak construction, with 75% of those construction jobs expected to be filled by local skilled tradespeople from the area. The Sunflower solar project will create further economic benefits to the local community by providing local sales and property tax revenues to Sunflower County, as well as indirect benefits such as increased local spending on the service and construction industries. The project will use Canadian Solar’s high-efficiency modules. Once operational, the project will power more than 16,000 homes with low-cost, clean electricity, equivalent to displacing approximately 170,000 metric tons of CO2 per year or taking about 37,000 passenger vehicles off the road.
“The Sunflower Solar project is another important milestone in Entergy Corporation’s continued transformation of its power generation portfolio, meeting customers’ needs with clean, efficient sources of electricity while maintaining some of the lowest retail rates in the country,” said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi President and CEO. “Entergy’s investments in its generation portfolio transformation have resulted in substantial reductions in the company’s greenhouse gas emissions and provided significant savings to customers from lower fuel costs. Along with being able to offer renewable energy to our customers once this project is complete, we’re pleased with the positive economic impact it will have on Sunflower County and the Mississippi Delta.”
In 2001, Entergy was the first U.S. electric utility to voluntarily commit to capping greenhouse gas emissions. Since then, the company has renewed and strengthened its climate action goals several times. Most recently, Entergy announced its commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.