SolarCity and Bank of America Merrill Lynch
SolarCity and Bank of America Merrill Lynch announced that they have agreed to terms on financing for SolarStrong, SolarCity's ambitious five-year plan to build more than $1 billion in solar power projects for privatized U.S. military housing communities across the country. As part of the project, SolarCity plans to partner with privatized military housing developers to install, own and operate rooftop solar installations and provide solar electricity. SolarStrong is ultimately expected to create up to 300 megawatts of solar generation capacity that could provide power to as many as 120,0001 military housing units. SolarStrong would be the largest residential solar photovoltaic project in American history.
Private equity firm U.S. Renewables Group (USRG) served as financial advisor for SolarStrong. When SolarCity began to plan SolarStrong in mid-2010, the company did not believe it could secure financing for a project of such a scope without a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). SolarCity and USRG began the loan guarantee application process under DOE's Section 1705 loan guarantee program in October 2010, and BofA Merrill subsequently joined the application as lender. The DOE announced a conditional commitment of a partial loan guarantee for SolarStrong on Sept. 7, 2011, but the parties were unable to finalize the loan before the Sept. 30 program deadline. SolarCity and BofA Merrill continued to work to close SolarStrong without the loan guarantee.
"BofA Merrill never wavered when the loan guarantee wasn't finalized and worked with us to create a financing structure that works without it," said Lyndon Rive, SolarCity's chief executive officer.
SolarCity expects SolarStrong to create thousands of full-time and temporary jobs. The company hopes to provide as many of those jobs as possible to U.S. veterans and military family members. SolarCity has added more than 1,200 new, full-time workers since the recession began in December 20072; creating more than one new job per workday in that timeframe. SolarStrong will also help the Department of Defense -- the single-largest energy consumer in the U.S. -- secure more of its energy needs from renewable sources operated in parallel with the utility grid.
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