NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Reaffirming its status as the go-to bank for financing distributed solar generation projects, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is pleased to announce its involvement in Project SolarStrong, the largest residential solar power project to date and the first of its kind. SolarStrong is expected to create more than $1 billion in solar projects and 371 megawatts of new solar generation capacity through the installation of rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems on up to 160,000 U.S. military residences on as many as 124 U.S. military bases in 33 states.
BofA Merrill has joined with SolarCity and US Renewables Group on the project, which will create thousands of jobs and provide low-cost, renewable electricity, while avoiding the emission of over 250,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. Many of the jobs are expected to be filled by U.S. veterans and military family members, who will be recruited, trained and employed to install, operate and maintain the PV systems.
The project will be financed by the private sector through a combination of debt and equity, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office has offered a conditional commitment for partial guarantee of a $344 million loan. SolarCity will install, own and operate the rooftop solar installations; USRG Renewable Finance, a subsidiary of US Renewables Group, is acting as lead lender; and BofA Merrill will provide debt financing for the project, as well as advisory and administrative services.
This is the second transformative solar deal BofA Merrill has announced in three months, the first being Project Amp. Together, these projects will propel residential and industrial solar distribution to the next level by creating a blueprint for future projects of this size.
“We are pleased to add Project SolarStrong to our growing business of financing large-scale solar projects that generate clean, renewable energy while creating thousands of jobs in local communities across the U.S.,” said Jonathan Plowe, head of new energy and infrastructure solutions at BofA Merrill. “This project has the added benefit of creating training and employment opportunities for military families and veterans who sacrifice so much for our country.”
Thousands of workers are expected to be hired over a five-year period to complete the SolarStrong project, which will include installing solar systems on military housing units and other privatized buildings on military bases, such as community centers, administrative offices, maintenance buildings and storage warehouses.
The SolarStrong project will also provide a secure new domestic source of power to help meet the energy needs of our country’s military bases. The first stage of the SolarStrong project is already underway at Hickam Communities at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii. When completed, that location alone will provide renewable power to more than 2,000 military family homes. Additional installations are expected to follow on military sites in states such as Nevada, Kentucky, California and Texas.
The transaction was led by BofA Merrill’s Cross Asset Solutions and Strategies group, a team established to leverage the bank’s entire platform and coordinate the vast resources of the firm from origination to execution, in partnership with the company’s Global Investment Banking and Leasing teams. In addition to demonstrating the strength of its Global Banking and Markets platform, this transaction also supports the company’s environmental business initiative, which is focused on addressing climate change by aligning its global financial products and services to help advance energy efficiency and low-carbon energy markets.
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