U.S. Bank expands leadership in environmental financing with solar debt launch

November 15, 2022
The Monmouth Solar farm, pictured, is another project U.S. Bank has partnered with Longroad Energy on in Maine as tax equity investment. Three Corners will be the bank’s first joint equity and debt project.

First deal closes with Longroad Energy; new product will be key to meeting bank’s environmental goals, serving growing customer needs.

U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC) – one of the most active renewable energy investors in the nation – introduced a debt product and closed its first loan. It’s with Longroad Energy on Three Corners Solar, a $200 million, 152-megawatt solar project in Kennebec County, Maine. The deal, which also includes a tax equity investment, marks an important milestone in expanding U.S. Bank’s commitment to the environment and supporting its customers.

“We believe everyone has a role to play in creating a sustainable future and addressing climate change and we’re excited about all the ways this will expand our abilities to do just that,” said Darren Van’t Hof, managing director of Environmental Finance for USBCDC. “The renewable energy market continues to grow, and this new product will help us meet the needs of customers and the industry as well as deliver on the environmental commitments U.S. Bank has made.”

The tax credit and community investment division of U.S. Bank, USBCDC invests renewable energy tax equity in projects that help provide clean energy options to our nation’s homes, towns and businesses through wind, solar and other renewable energy projects. Since 2008, its investments have totaled over $15 billion in tax equity and a total renewable generating capacity of 20.21 gigawatts – enough to power more than 3.8 million homes. The addition of lending means those numbers will only grow.

“Our new project finance debt platform is a perfect example of how we can bring one U.S. Bank to deepen our relationships with new and existing customers,” said Bill Gallagher, director of environmental project finance lending for USBCDC.  “Not only will it help us achieve our own commitment, but it will create opportunities to support customers across the bank – from utilities to developers – who are making their own transitions to a greener economy.”

USBCDC closed a $100 million loan and made an $80 million tax equity investment in the Three Corners Solar project. It’s the bank’s fourth equity deal with Longroad and the first including debt.                   

“Execution, certainty and quality is very important to Longroad. For years, U.S. Bank has been Longroad's trusted tax equity partner for its best-in-the-industry tax equity products and solutions,” said Tait Nielsen, VP of project finance at Longroad Energy. “With U.S. Bank's support, now both on the tax equity and lending side, Longroad is able to raise financing more efficiently and with greater confidence. We look forward to continuing and expanding our long relationship with U.S. Bank.”

Rod Granados, USBCDC account manager, said Three Corners is a great first project to launch with. New England is a strong market for solar and the utility-scale project has a long-term power purchase agreement in place with EDF Energy Services, LLC. “All the technology on this project is also sourced domestically, which avoids some of the recent supply chain issues and delays the industry has been experiencing,” Granados said. Once complete, expected in late 2023 or early 2024, it will be the largest solar project in Maine.

The new environmental project finance platform is also an important component in meeting the environmental commitments U.S. Bank has made. Last November it set an environmental finance goal of $50 billion by 2030 – advancing the transition to a low-carbon economy by financing more customers and projects that have a positive impact on the environment. It’s also set a goal to achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  

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