The Connecticut Green Bank and Onyx Renewable Partners L.P. (“Onyx”) are excited to announce Green Bank Solar PPA (power purchase agreement), a joint program that will provide funding for 15-20+ megawatts of commercial-scale solar projects in Connecticut.
Onyx was selected by the Green Bank through a competitive process, which demonstrated Onyx’s ability to provide the flexibility and cost of capital necessary to fund a growing portfolio of commercial-scale projects within Connecticut. Under this partnership, Onyx will leverage its existing fund structure and relationships with Credit Suisse and future tax equity partners to capitalize and own solar photovoltaic projects originated by the Green Bank and local solar developers. This new Connecticut-specific allocation within Onyx’s larger commercial solar portfolio will build upon the success of the Green Bank’s Solar Lease 2 fund, which reached capacity earlier in 2017.
The new Green Bank Solar PPA fund will provide power purchase agreements to a broad range of property owners by making use of Connecticut’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) Program to allow unrated solar customers, including commercial, industrial, and non-profit property owners, to access financing alongside state agencies, housing authorities, municipalities, schools, and rated corporations. This innovative structure was pioneered under the Green Bank’s Solar Lease 2 program and has successfully opened the solar PPA market to customers traditionally excluded from solar financing.
“The Connecticut Green Bank’s partnership with Onyx provides our local installers with easy access to affordable capital so that their customers can finance solar PV projects that save money from day one,” stated Catherine Smith, Chair of the Connecticut Green Bank and Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). “Via this initiative, the Green Bank is providing our local installers with a pathway to developing projects that can help accelerate their business growth both in Connecticut and scale throughout the region.”
The first two projects under this program are nearing completion and will provide significant savings to their hosts.
First, a 600+ kW rooftop solar system was installed at the Reed Intermediate School in Newtown by Direct Energy, in partnership with the Newtown Sustainability Commission. The long-term savings to Newtown are projected to be over $1.6 million over the 25-year term of the PPA.
“Installing the solar system on the school provides many opportunities for us,” said Frederick Hurley, Director of Public Works for the Town of Newtown. “We can show students, parents, and staff how the technology works, and it will provide significant savings to the town and its residents. Plus, we are using clean energy, which is good for the environment and future generations.”
Additionally, the Town of West Hartford will benefit from the largest solar project the Green Bank has helped develop to date when a 2.4 MW ground mount solar array at the Barrette Farm in Thompson comes online. The project is being installed by C-TEC Solar. The state’s Virtual Net Metering (VNM) program allows West Hartford to take advantage of the energy generated, with projected savings approaching $1.3 million over the term.
“We are excited to be part of the Green Bank’s largest solar project to date, and a pioneer in the state’s VNM program,” said Catherine Diviney, Energy Specialist for the Town of West Hartford. “VNM is a valuable addition to the extensive on-site generation that we currently have on 11 buildings. VNM allows us to both support clean energy and realize some financial savings on the electricity bills at our schools and town facilities. It’s a green win-win for everyone.”
Onyx is a leader in the development and finance of commercial, industrial, and small-scale utility solar projects in North America and brings significant experience in solar project development and financing. Backed by funds managed by Blackstone Energy Partners and Blackstone Capital Partners, and operating under an existing partnership with Credit Suisse, Onyx’s established capabilities represent a strong development and financing solution for Connecticut’s commercial-scale solar sector. Onyx provides a vertically integrated approach with strong supply chain relationships, facilitating procurement of lower cost solar equipment, employs a seasoned team of design, engineering, construction and project management experts, and offers full-service capabilities for long-term asset management.
“The Green Bank and Onyx are proud of this mutually rewarding partnership under which Connecticut will benefit greatly from Onyx’s depth of commercial solar development and financing expertise. In turn, Onyx will be able to expand its solar portfolio in the state and gain first-hand experience using C-PACE as a security mechanism under a PPA fund structure, which we hope can be replicated elsewhere,” said Bert Hunter, Executive Vice-President & Chief Investment Officer of the Connecticut Green Bank.
“Onyx is dedicated to bringing more sustainable energy solutions to the State of Connecticut through our partnership with Green Bank. Utilizing our wealth of experience and relationships in the industry, we will work with, and invest in local developers to promote economic development and growth in their communities,” said Ja Kao, President of Onyx.