June 25, 2024

Birch Creek Energy Solar Project Powers 7,300+ Homes in Illinois

Birch Creek Energy, a renewable energy company based in St. Louis, has announced the completion of financing and the full operation of Earp Solar, a 47MW utility-scale solar project in Illinois.

Earp Solar: First Operational Project in Birch Creek's IPP

Earp Solar occupies a 229-acre (92.7 ha) site in Warren County, Illinois, and linked to Ameren Illinois. This solar facility generates sufficient electricity to supply more than 7,300 homes. The solar project marks the first project to achieve full financing and operational status within Birch Creek's independent power producer entity (IPP), leading the way for several others scheduled to launch this year.

Dan Siegel, CEO of Birch Creek said "In mid-2023, we unveiled our IPP strategy and have since been focused on swiftly completing construction and financing for 6 projects totaling 342MW in MISO territory. Earp Solar is the inaugural project in this lineup, and we extend our gratitude to our partners who supported us throughout this journey."

Key Financing Partners for Earp Solar Project

Tax equity was facilitated through sponsor, Foss &Company. Solar energy financier West Town Bank & Trust provided permanent debt, while construction capital was underwritten and funded by the Pathward NA bank.

"Earp Solar underscores Foss & Company's dedication to advancing renewable energy initiatives. Our tax equity investment in this project utilized an innovative lease structure that maximized economic benefits for all stakeholders. This represents our second successful collaboration with Birch Creek and our third with their project finance lead. We are excited to contribute to the Earp Solar project and anticipate future opportunities with the Birch Creek team." stated Bryen Alperin , Partner and Managing Director, Foss & Company.

"We extend sincere thanks to all our partners for their support in financing our inaugural IPP asset. Achieving this milestone fills us with excitement, and we anticipate ongoing collaborations with these relationships as we expand our IPP in the coming years." added Max Whitacre , EVP of Project Finance for Birch Creek.

Partnerships’ Commitment to Sustainable Energy

Birch Creek Energy, a platform focused on utility-scale solar development, undertakes the development, financing, and ownership of large-scale solar and storage projects throughout the United States. Since 2019, Birch Creek Energy has successfully developed 1.7 gigawatts (GW) of solar projects and currently manages a portfolio exceeding 14.2 gigawatts (GW) across various stages of development and operation in regions including MISO, PJM, ERCOT, and the Southeast.

Foss & Company serves as a prominent national tax equity investor and fund sponsor. The company was established in 1983 and has directed more than $8 billion in tax equity investments for insurance, banking, and other major corporate clients, channeling these funds into historic rehabilitation projects as well as renewable and advanced energy production facilities.

West Town Bank & Trust stands out as a committed financial ally in the solar energy sector, focusing on optimizing the USDA's Rural Energy for America Program. Through its expert renewable energy division, West Town simplifies the process of securing development funding by offering innovative financing options. Since 2016, West Town has approved more than $1 billion in solar financing, fostering industry advancements, promoting clean energy expansion, and stimulating rural economic growth.

Earp Solar stands as a testament to effective collaboration between Birch Creek Energy and its financial partners, leveraging innovative financing solutions to drive significant renewable energy development in Illinois. This project not only contributes to local energy needs but also reinforces the ongoing transition towards a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.

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