Irish Solar Company, BNRG, Breaks Ground in USA.
Irish solar company BNRG Renewables Limited has announced that it has commenced construction of a portfolio of 10 solar PV projects totalling 35 Megawatts (MW) of solar PV projects in Oregon, USA. This portfolio represents the delivery of the first batch of US projects that the company has being developing since 2016. The projects have secured a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with local utility, Portland General Electric. Construction commenced in early June on the first three projects with the balance of the portfolio expected to be completed by mid 2019. The portfolio is financed through a $35m construction finance facility and a longer-term Sale and Leaseback tax equity arrangement, both provided by Atlanta-based SunTrust Bank. Director at BNRG, David Maguire said “The US is an important strategic market for us and it is a major milestone for BNRG to be constructing our first projects there. Together with our Maine portfolio, which is currently under development, we expect to complete construction of 150 MW of projects in the US by mid-2020.”
This success in the US represents another major milestone for BNRG after the successful completion in March 2018 of the company’s Laurel Hill project in county Down, Northern Ireland. This project, which is over 14 megawatts, is the last large-scale renewable energy project in the UK to benefit from the Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) scheme. After being energised in March, the project will supply electricity to the equivalent of over 4,700 homes every year for over 30 years.
In addition to activities in Northern Ireland, BNRG has been building up a significant pipeline of 300 MW of projects in the Republic of Ireland in partnership with Paris-based Independent Power Producer, Neoen. Progress has been rapid on this portfolio of projects with planning permission and grid connection agreements secured on six projects in the South and East of Ireland. The Company is investing in the development of projects in Ireland in anticipation of policy support by way of competitive auctions. The Renewable Energy Support Scheme is due to be announced by Minister Naughten shortly. BNRG started developing projects in the US later than they started in Ireland, yet they are already constructing their first US projects. The Company expect to commence construction on the first projects in Ireland next year.
BNRG is also looking further afield and recently opened an office in Singapore and moved into the Australian market where they have agreed commercial terms with a local company to develop a significant portfolio of large scale projects. The geographic footprint of this Irish Company has ensured that it has flourished in uncertain market conditions. Maguire explained that “the strategy of the Company is to be active in a number of counties at the same time to mitigate against political or regulatory uncertainty and to ensure that you always have assets under development, construction and operation at any one moment in time”. In a challenging global market, BNRG have developed a formula to navigate successfully and grow the business.