This deal is a really big deal.
Bank of America announced an agreement this week with ProLogis, and NRG Energy and the US DOE’s Loan Program Office to finance the deployment of up to $2.6 billion of commercial and industrial rooftop solar installations, all across the country.
This will be the largest distributed solar deal in history, which will create the equivalent of over 10,000 job-years, while providing 733MW of distributed solar energy, which is enough to power 100,000 homes across 28 states.
Bank of America is the sole financial lender in the agreement, which is backed by a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy’s Financial Institutions Partnership Program.
All the funds will be raised from private investors over the next four years. Prologis will act as the developer and site host and NRG Energy will be the lead investor for the first phase of the project. This landmark deal adds to a growing list of recent commitments by BOA Merrill including a newly established goal by the company to reduce its global green house gas emissions 15 percent by 2015, and the launch of a $55 million energy efficiency finance program to encourage energy efficiency in older buildings in key markets across the U.S.
The first phase of the so-called AMP project, which will provide 15MW in Southern California, is ready to begin immediately.
Prologis will provide site access to rooftops, mostly on warehouses and will also act as developer, construction manager and program sponsor, in addition to being an equity investor. This project is the most recent example of the company’s long-standing and industry-leading commitment to renewable energy.
“As one of the world’s largest owners of distribution facilities and an active solar industry participant, we’re pleased to be a partner in a project of this magnitude,” said Drew Torbin, vice president of Prologis Renewable Energy. “This project will add significant scale to the distributed solar market and provides economic and environmental benefit to our shareholders and customers.”
A study done by Recurrent energy back in 2007 found that, “institutional owners of U.S. commercial real estate, including publicly owned real estate investment trusts (REITs), control enough rooftop real estate to economically generate 15,000 megawatts of solar power.” This deal marks a significant first major step in capturing that opportunity.
NRG Energy, one of the nation’s largest electric power companies will provide development resources and project expertise for the installations.
“NRG believes rooftop solar is a smart choice for industrial, commercial and residential property owners in markets around the country, and this program provides the commercial scale that will bring the benefits of solar power to customers across the country,” said Tom Doyle, president of NRG Solar, NRG’s solar subsidiary. “This program will nearly double the amount of grid-connected solar online in the United States today and make another positive contribution to cleaner air and a healthy environment.”
NRG Solar pursues a diverse approach to commercializing solar generation, including large-scale concentrated solar thermal and photovoltaic, as well as distributed solar. The company owns the largest solar photovoltaic plant currently operating in California and has more than 2,000 MW of solar projects under development or in construction across the United States.
For Bank of America Merill’s part, this transaction is part of the company’s 10-year, $20 billion Environmental Business Initiative, which focuses on addressing climate change by aligning its global financial products and services to help advance energy efficiency and low-carbon energy markets.
Within four years of launching this initiative, Bank of America has:
- Invested $12.6Bn with a majority invested in Leasing ($2.9Bn), Commercial Real Estate Banking ($4.8Bn) and Global Investment Banking ($4.2Bn).
- Delivered $476M in financing for energy efficiency upgrades and retrofitting for K-12 schools, colleges and universities.
- Provided more than $4.84Bn in “green” commercial real estate debt and equity transactions, including more than $1.9 billion in debt and equity financing to develop environmentally sustainable affordable housing. In 2010, the company announced 10 affordable housing projects selected to receive grants through a partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) called the Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant Program.
Just the other day, I was saying we needed more collaboration in the for-profit sector and here we have a great example of just that.
RP Siegel is the co-author of the eco-thriller Vapor Trails, the first in a series covering the human side of various sustainability issues including energy, food, and water. Like airplanes, we all leave behind a vapor trail. And though we can easily see others’, we rarely see our own.
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