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250-MW Texas solar project supporting Nestlé approaches commercial operation

12.09.20

Original post: https://www.solarpowerworldonl...

By Billy Ludt | December 9, 2020

7X Energy, a utility-scale solar developer, owner and asset manager, has partnered with Nestlé to be the sole tax equity investor for its 250 MWac Taygete I Energy Project located in Pecos County, Texas.

Taygete I construction activities are complete, and the project is in the final energization phase with full commercial operation expected in early 2021. 7X Energy, the project owner, will also be the asset manager.

“Taygete I is an exciting achievement for 7X in which it is now an independent power producer,” said Clay Butler, president and CEO of 7X Energy. “Our expansion into ownership and asset management is the clear evolution for 7X as we are committed to the highest design and construction standards while also aggressively managing end to end costs to provide greater access to more competitive clean energy.”

Nestlé is the sole tax equity investor for the Taygete I project. This investment represents the company’s largest direct investment (by capacity) in a renewable energy project to date. In addition to its tax equity investment, Nestlé will purchase 100% of the renewable electricity attributes generated by the project’s energy production, estimated to be 750,000 MWh per year for 15 years. This renewable energy will help the company reduce carbon emissions while making household favorites like DiGiorno pizza, Sweet Earth meals, Purina Pro Plan pet food and Tidy Cats cat litter.

“Nestlé’s investment in Taygete I is an important milestone on our journey to achieve net zero by 2050. This is an aggressive goal, and to achieve it we are innovating across our company, from the ingredients we use, to the packaging that keeps our food and beverages safe, to how we make and transport our products,” said Jim Wells, chief supply chain officer for Nestlé USA. “We are proud that our investment will expand the availability of renewable energy, adding enough solar electricity to the U.S. grid to power 90,000 homes each year. Also, with this step, we continue to be on track for a 35% GHG emissions reduction per ton of product in our U.S. manufacturing facilities by the end of 2020.”

The project, covering approximately 2,000 acres, used NextTracker components, Power Electronics’ Freesun HEM inverters and over 856,000 Jinko Solar modules. Swinerton Renewable Energy constructed the Taygete I solar project under an engineering, procurement and construction contract with 7X Energy. Taygete I solar project created over 300 jobs during the peak of construction. Over the life of the facility, the project will generate tens of millions of dollars in property tax revenue to the county.

“7X has been a great community partner during the development and construction of Taygete I. The economic benefits the project has brought to the region confirms the value of utility-scale solar energy,” said Judge Joe Shuster of Pecos County. “This county has been at the forefront of energy generation as exemplified in that we’re no. 14 in oil and gas production, no. 5 in wind energy and no. 1 in solar in the State of Texas. The Taygete I project showcases how oil and gas and solar can co-exist and we’re proud to be part of the Texas solar boom.”

7X has now successfully originated 1,350 MWac of solar projects either in operation or under construction in Texas. The projects combined represent a capital injection of over $1.5 billion dollars.

CIT Group‘s subsidiary Power and Energy business served as coordinating lead arranger on a $256 million financing for the Taygete I Energy Project. A portion of the energy generated from the Taygete I solar project will be sold through a long-term hedge agreement to J. Aron & Company, a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs. . As coordinating lead arranger, CIT brought in five other lenders into the transaction.

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