BayWa r.e. Completes Fern Solar Challenge in North Carolina
BayWa re Solar Projects LLC, a renewable energy developer and service provider, has completed construction of the 133.6 MW DC Fern Solar Project in Edgecombe County, NC Fern. Fern Fern is the largest project that BayWa re has developed and built in the USA to date
The 133.6 MW DC power plant with more than 353,000 high-performance photovoltaic modules will produce an estimated 238 GWh of clean electricity annually. The project created approximately 500 construction and related jobs and will generate tens of thousands of dollars in Edgecombe County property taxes annually for the life of the plant.
“Fern Solar is our largest solar project in the US to date, but it’s more than a renewable energy milestone – it’s a story of how companies and people can come together to move the needle forward,” said Jam Attari, CEO from BayWa to solar projects. “The world is transforming into clean energy fast, and we’ll get there faster if we innovate together.”
BayWa re is a partner in a solar job training program with the Center for Energy Education (C4EE) in North Carolina. The training is aimed at residents who are unemployed or underemployed and need a second chance. Graduates from the program include military veterans seeking work in the solar industry. C4EE graduates receive initial considerations for hiring at local solar project locations. Upon graduation, each student receives an OSHA 10 certification card, safety equipment, and a certificate of completion. The company will continue to work with local communities to develop and expand future programs.
The Fern project benefits from pioneering Virtual Power Purchase Agreements (VPPAs), including a unique contract that brings together five companies to separately contract similar parts of the facility’s power generation. Led by LevelTen Energy, VPPA brought together an anchor tenant group from Bloomberg, Cox Enterprises, Gap Inc., Salesforce and Workday to form a Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group that will acquire 42.5 MW of the facility’s installed generating capacity becomes. Starbucks has signed a separate VPPA for 46 MW.
The project will be included in BayWa re’s operational portfolio. The company secured tax equity from RBC Capital Markets, which syndicated an investment commitment – and secured construction and permanent debt from Rabobank and Banco Sabadell.