A newly constructed 50-megawatt solar farm on 560 acres in West Baton Rouge Parish that has a supply contract with Entergy Louisiana has been sold to a joint venture called Helios Infrastructure.
Separately, D.E. Shaw Investments reported Tuesday that it recently began construction on two solar projects totaling 70-megawatts of electricity — Iris Solar in Washington Parish and St. James Solar. The New York-based renewable energy business has a 20-year contract with Entergy New Orleans, an entity separately run from Entergy Louisiana, but both are subsidiaries of Entergy Corp.
The Helios joint venture is a partnership between Washington D.C.-based renewable energy company Sol Systems and publicly traded Nationwide Insurance.
Helios has been on a buying spree and has more than 300 megawatts of utility-scale solar energy projects across the nation. The fund has $650 million in assets.
Financial details for the West Baton Rouge deal and construction costs for the project were not disclosed, but a solar farm of a similar size in Louisiana was projected to cost $78 million.
Entergy Louisiana is under contract to purchase electricity produced at the West Baton Rouge solar farm for 20 years.
Arizona-based Depcom Power did the engineering, procurement and construction, in addition to operations and management on behalf of previous owner Eagle Solar Group LLC. During construction, the project supported about 350 jobs in the region.
Fifty megawatts of solar power is estimated to power to roughly 5,000 homes.
The Baton Rouge solar farm, with 197,000 solar panels, is Helios' single largest investment since the joint venture began in 2018.
Nationwide considers the investment part of its environmental, social and corporate governance goals while Sol Systems has expertise in the industry.
The solar farm is projected to contribute $6.4 million in tax revenue over a 30-year period.
"Clean energy will play a significant role in the recovery of the region and our nation," Jessica Robbins, senior director of structured finance for Sol Systems, said.
Entergy has been growing its share of solar for the past few years as it adds to a portfolio of about 190 megawatts of renewable resources, which includes hydro, biomass and waste heat recovery. In the past two years, roughly one-quarter of electricity Entergy Louisiana customers used stemmed from carbon-free power sources.
Iris Solar, under construction in Washington Parish, spans 492-acres and St. James Solar encompasses 218 acres. Construction is expected to be completed by the middle of 2021, supporting roughly 250 construction jobs.
These solar farms were previously developed by Acadian Renewable Energy LLC, a joint venture between investors affiliated with SunChase Power and MAP Renewable Energy. MAP Renewable Energy remains a minority stake investor.
"These two new solar resources in combination with our portfolio will substantially increase the composition of energy supplied to our customers from renewable resources," David Ellis, CEO of Entergy New Orleans, said in a news release.
The two new solar farms are financed by a syndicate of lenders that includes French bank Societe Generale, Canadian bank CIBC and Truist Bank.
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