A renewable energy developer co-owned by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund has sold off a solar project in Utah that will supply power to an electric utility owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
Longroad Energy Partners, in which NZ Super has a 40% stake, sold the 128MW Milford Solar Project to a new London-listed entity called US Solar Fund.
The project is contracted to provide clean energy to PacifiCorp – a wholly owned arm of Berkshire Hathaway – for 25 years.
PacifiCorp is the largest grid operator in the western US states, serving around 1.9m people across Oregon, Washington, California, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming.
Last month PacifiCorp acquired sole ownership of the Foote Creek I wind generation facility, a 41.4MW project in [the appropriately named] Carbon County, Wyoming.
NZ Super bought into Longroad, headed by former FirstWind executives in 2016, committing to North American utility-scale wind and solar.
US Solar Fund (USF) said it would fund the acquisition and construction of Milford with initial equity of approximately $30m alongside non-recourse construction debt provided by Zions Bancorporation and KeyBank as Joint Lead Arrangers.Once complete, approximately $50m of the construction debt will convert to non-recourse senior debt provided by the same lender group.
Banking giant Wells Fargo, it said, has committed to provide tax equity funding for Milford upon achievement of construction milestones.
US Solar Fund, managed by Australia’s New Energy Solar Manager (NESM) raised $200m when it listed on the London Stock Exchange in April.
USF is chaired by Gillian Nott, the former BP executive and ex-deputy chair of the Association of Investment Companies who headed the advocacy group ProShare. She said: “We are delighted to have reached financial close on our first high-quality solar asset. The 25-year PPA with PacifiCorp will provide stable long-term infrastructure cashflows to our investors, something that is particularly pleasing in this low interest rate environment.”
In June Longroad announced a partnership with Facebook, the target of an investor campaign headed by NZ Super, on a new US solar project in Texas.
Boston-based Longroad, last month announced that Danish labour-market pension funds PenSam and PKA had invested DKK750m (€100m) in its El Campo wind farm project in Texas.