8point3 Energy Partners and Wells Fargo Acquire Kern High School District’s 22-Megawatts of SunPower® Solar Power Systems
Wells Fargo & Company and 8point3 Energy Partners LP , the YieldCo joint venture formed by SunPower and First Solar(Nasdaq: FSLR), announced recently that a joint venture of the two companies has acquired 22 megawatts (DC) of SunPower solar power systems under construction at 27 Kern High School District (KHSD) sites in Kern County, California. The acquisition represents the first drop-down transaction for 8point3 Energy Partners.
“We’re pleased to announce our first drop-down transaction today, an acquisition that further diversifies our portfolio with a very significant distributed generation asset and strengthens our current position and outlook for long-term growth,” said Chuck Boynton, CEO of 8point3 Energy Partners. “We commend Kern High School District for its leadership in solar, and look forward to celebrating the completion of these systems later this year.”
“We are excited about our new joint venture and are proud to contribute to the success of 8point3 Energy Partners and SunPower,” said Barry Neal, executive vice president of Renewable Energy and Environmental Finance at Wells Fargo. “We are pleased to provide capital to solar projects that will decrease emissions while reducing costs, and applaud Kern High School District for making such a substantial commitment to solar.”
According to data provided by The Solar Foundation, KHSD’s solar projects represent the largest contracted commitment to solar power by any school district in the U.S.
Under a power purchase agreement, Wells Fargo and 8point3 Energy Partners will sell electricity to the district at competitive rates, providing KHSD a hedge against potential utility rate increases with no upfront capital cost. Once the systems are operational in 2016, the district estimates it will achieve $80 million in electricity cost savings over 25 years. KHSD will own the renewable energy credits associated with the systems.
At the KHSD sites, SunPower is installing solar carports in the schools’ parking lots. The solar carports take advantage of underutilized space and provide needed shade, and they feature SunPower® solar panels, the most efficient and reliable panels on the market today. All of the KHSD systems are expected to be operational before the end of 2016.