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Greenbacker’s Appaloosa Energy Asset Enters Commercial Operation

Greenbacker’s Appaloosa Energy Asset Enters Commercial Operation. Alternative investments, Greenbacker, rPlus Energies, Appaloosa, Graphite Solar, green energy, renewable energy, solar, sustainability

Greenbacker Capital Management, an asset manager and sponsor of investment vehicles focused on renewable energy, announced that its 240 MWdc / 200 MWac utility-scale Appaloosa Solar 1 project has entered commercial operation in Iron County, Utah. With more than twice the power generation capacity of its sister project – Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company’s 104 MWdc / 80 MWac Graphite Solar in Carbon County, Utah – Appaloosa is now Greenbacker’s largest operational clean energy asset to date.

The partnership and beginning stages of Appaloosa project were previously reported by The DI Wire.

While the project represents a new milestone for GCM and minority owner rPlus Energies LLC, it’s also a landmark for the clean energy industry. The financing for Appaloosa marked one of the first tax equity transactions to utilize the solar production tax credit newly expanded by the Inflation Reduction Act. While Greenbacker has successfully executed tax equity investments and employed the federal investment tax credit for years, this is its first financing utilizing the new solar production tax credit.

“Bringing Appaloosa online is a milestone both for GCM as a business and for the energy transition as a whole, representing a new way to build the future of sustainable power,” said Ben Tillar, principal at Greenbacker. “It was accomplished through the dedication of our ongoing project partners and the support of the Iron County community, to whom we are grateful for hosting this project.”

Many of the partnerships involved with Appaloosa began on the Graphite Solar project, which was developed, built, and commissioned by rPlus, with Sundt Construction delivering the engineering, procurement, and construction. Like Graphite, Appaloosa has a long-term power purchase agreement in place with utility PacifiCorp that supports Meta’s regional operations under Rocky Mountain Power’s Schedule 34 green energy tariff, which allows large customers to directly support the incremental addition of renewable energy capacity to support the customer’s energy needs.

The project began delivering solar energy on Jan. 24, 2024, helping contribute to Meta’s 100% renewable energy and net zero goals.

“Having collaborated on Graphite Solar, we entered this project with the confidence that our partners foster an environment of efficiency, execution, excellence, and trust,” said Luigi Resta, rPlus president and chief executive officer. “We are incredibly proud to reach this milestone as we contribute another significant project to Utah’s diverse energy landscape.”

Project construction relied on many local vendors, delivering revenue to the area and supporting approximately 250 construction-related green energy jobs.

GCM acquired the project in late 2022, through an affiliated investment vehicle focused on sustainable infrastructure. In its first year of operation, Appaloosa is expected to generate enough clean energy to abate approximately 395,000 metric tons of carbon emissions.

Before the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, solar power projects were only eligible for the ITC. Today, solar projects can choose between either the investment tax credit or the production tax credit, which currently offers a 2.75 cents per kilowatt-hour credit for electricity produced by solar energy and other renewables.

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