Dear Forum readers,
Please welcome our newest guest blogger, Samantha Buechner. In her role as Environmental Finance analyst, Samantha is focused on growing Wells Fargo’s Solar investment portfolio. (BM)
We recently invested $100MM in nine utility-scale solar projects in North Carolina developed and built by Strata Solar, a company that has installed over 300 megawatts primarily in the Southeast. The projects produce enough electricity to power 5,000 homes and displace 28,000 metric tons of CO2 annually—that’s equivalent to the CO2 emissions from burning 30MM pounds of coal*. North Carolina utility Progress Energy Carolinas will purchase the power.
We are proud to work with top-tier developers like Strata and we are excited about the opportunity to participate in the rapid expansion of solar in North Carolina and the rest of the Southeast. A 35% state tax credit for renewable energy projects, which these nine-projects utilize, has been an important driver of recent growth. Last year North Carolina governor Pat McCrory designated June as Solar Energy Month, celebrating the jobs created through solar power projects and how solar benefits the environment. The Strata solar projects we recently invested in create local construction jobs and provide additional income to those who lease their land for the projects.
The three largest projects — Bladenboro, Wagstaff and Nash 58 — all exceed six megawatts in capacity and provide a significant boost to the local tax base without requiring additional county expenditures on sewer, roads or any other infrastructure.
Since 2006, we have provided over $4 billion in tax equity and construction financing for renewable energy projects in 28 states, including over $1.3 billion for more than 300 solar projects. Renewable project finance is part of the comprehensive goal we announced in 2012 to deploy an additional $30 billion in financing by 2020 to build a “greener” economy, including loans and investments for clean technology and environmental innovation and projects such as “green” buildings, renewable energy projects and “green” businesses.