Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company, a publicly registered, non-traded limited liability company, has purchased Heathlands, a 41-megawatt utility-scale solar project located in Manistee County, Michigan, from Prism Power Partners for an undisclosed price.
The to-be-constructed asset is the second project in Prism’s 53-megawatt 2022 Michigan portfolio, the other being a 12-megawatt pre-operational solar project that Greenbacker purchased earlier this year.
Greenbacker noted that the Heathlands project, which is its largest asset in Michigan, also comes with the potential to build out energy storage capabilities. The facility was designed with the option to add co-located battery energy storage systems onsite. Greenbacker said that “power storage coupled with renewable energy offers numerous advantages, such as lowering consumer electric bills by discharging stored energy during periods of peak demand and saving power reserves for specific use during emergencies.”
Heathlands is Greenbacker’s third acquisition from developer Prism, with whom the company has an ongoing relationship. In 2019, the company purchased Prism’s Electric City solar project, a 19-megawatt facility located in southwestern Michigan.
Similar to Electric City, Greenbacker plans to plant pollinator-friendly vegetation below the solar panels at Heathlands to support declining pollinator populations and sequester carbon in the earth via deeper root systems, which also improve a site’s soil stability and mitigate storm water runoff. Because it requires less mowing and maintenance, introducing this flora can help reduce a site’s operating costs, as well, the company said.
“We’re excited to help lower consumer power bills and increase clean energy availability across the state of Michigan,” said Charles Wheeler, chief executive officer. “Our continuing partnership with Prism has helped support local jobs and create meaningful sustainable power generation for Michiganders—not to mention the additional benefits and dependability that can accompany any future energy storage functionality.”
The project is expected to begin construction early next year and reach commercial operations in the fourth quarter of 2022. Greenbacker added that Heathlands has entered into a long-term power purchase agreement with an “investment-grade offtaker.”
With the acquisition of this project, Greenbacker will own approximately 2.18 gigawatts of generating capacity (including assets that are to be constructed), comprising 1.82 gigawatts of utility-scale and distributed solar facilities, 330.1 megawatts of wind facilities, 16.0 megawatts of battery storage, and 12.0 megawatts of biomass facilities.
Greenbacker launched in February and 2017 and has raised $975.4 million in investor equity as of July 2021, with sales in 2021 totaling approximately $640.5 million.
The company acquires and manages renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, and other energy-related businesses. Its projects, such as solar and wind facilities, sell power under long-term contract to counterparties such as utilities, municipalities, and corporations.