Daily News: May 5, 2014

Wells Fargo Provides Tax-Equity Financing to Strata Solar

Strata Solar announced it has installed nine utility-scale solar projects across North Carolina using more than $100 million of tax-equity financing provided by Wells Fargo’s Environmental Finance Group.

“As a leading provider of capital in renewable energy and cleantech across the U.S., Wells Fargo is excited to participate in the rapid expansion of solar in the Southeast,” said Barry Neal, head of Wells Fargo’s Environmental Finance Group. “We are proud to partner with top-tier developers like Strata who share in our commitment to support communities and deploy clean energy.”

North Carolina utility Progress Energy Carolinas will purchase the power. The projects produce enough electricity to power 5,000 households and displace 28,000 metric tons of CO2 per year. Supported by a 35% North Carolina Renewable Energy Tax Credit, the projects create local jobs and provide additional income for those who lease their land for the solar projects.

“We are very proud of our ability to invest and build in North Carolina’s rural communities. These projects bring jobs, significant local spend, and an increase in the tax base without the requirement of county dollars which is typical of development projects,” said Markus Wilhelm, Strata Solar’s CEO. “On a number of occasions we’ve witnessed these projects having an impact on attracting additional investors who are looking for business-friendly environments.”

The three largest projects – Bladenboro, Wagstaff and Nash 58 – all exceed six MWs 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, Wells Fargo has 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 Wells Fargo announced in 2012 to deploy by 2020 an additional $30 billion in financing 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.