ConnectGen Closes Financing with CoBank ACB and NORD/LB

ConnectGen CoBANK NORD

May 19, 2020 (Houston, TX) – ConnectGen LLC (“ConnectGen”) has closed a 14.5-year term loan for its 50% interest in a portfolio of 278 megawatts (MW) of operating solar projects. CoBank ACB (“CoBank”) and Norddeutsche Landesbank (“NORD/LB”) served as Joint Lead Arrangers on the financing. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, ConnectGen develops renewable energy and energy storage projects across North America. The company is backed by Quantum Energy Partners, a leading provider of private equity capital to the global energy industry.

“We are pleased to partner with CoBank and NORD/LB to close this financing,” said Caton Fenz, Chief Executive Officer of ConnectGen. “They are two of the leading banks in financing renewable energy, and we appreciate their vote of confidence in these projects and our growing platform, particularly during these challenging times.”

ConnectGen partnered with EDP Renewables North America to acquire the portfolio of three solar projects last year from First Solar. The three projects – Windhub A (20 MW), Sunshine Valley (104 MW) and Sunstreams I (154 MW) – were built by First Solar using First Solar panels, and all have 15-year power purchase agreements with Southern California Edison Company (BBB/Baa2).

“CoBank is in the business of supporting quality sponsors with quality projects,” said Michael Gee, Managing Director at CoBank. “We are pleased to participate in this loan and to partner with ConnectGen and Quantum.”

“NORD/LB is delighted to support ConnectGen on this transaction,” said Mike McCarthy, Senior Director at NORD/LB. “ConnectGen is growing quickly, and we look forward to working with the company on many future transactions.”

Founded in 2018, ConnectGen’s strategy is to apply its proven ability to develop, construct and operate clean energy assets to create a multi-technology portfolio of generation and storage projects. The company currently has 139 MW of solar projects in operations and is developing over 4,000 MW of wind, solar and energy storage projects across North America. ConnectGen LLC is a subsidiary of 547 Energy. 547 Energy is Quantum Energy Partners’ clean energy platform company.

 

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ABOUT Quantum Energy Partners / 547 Energy

Founded in 1998, Quantum Energy Partners is a leading provider of private equity capital to the global energy industry, having managed together with its affiliates more than $17 billion in equity commitments since inception.  For more information on Quantum, please visit www.quantumep.com or contact Michael Dalton at (713) 452-2110.

547 Energy is the clean energy platform of Quantum Energy Partners. To date, 547 Energy has invested in ConnectGen (USA) and ENORA S.A. (Greece). 547 Energy was founded and is led by industry veteran Gabriel Alonso. For more information on 547 Energy, please email info@547energy.com.

ABOUT COBANK

CoBank is a $158 billion cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. The bank provides commercial loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states. The bank also provides wholesale loans and other financial services to affiliated Farm Credit associations serving more than 70,000 farmers, ranchers and other rural borrowers in 23 states around the country. For more information, go to www.cobank.com.

ABOUT NORD/LB

Headquartered in Hannover, Germany and with offices in New York, London, and Singapore, Nord/LB is a leading global project finance energy and infrastructure lender. In the Americas, the bank has lent more than $15 billion of project debt for utility scale renewable energy plants, energy, and infrastructure projects in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. For more information about NORD/LB, please visit www.nordlb.com or email nicolai.dillow@nordlb.com.

The New York Times Reports Oil Companies Are Collapsing, but Wind & Solar Energy Keep Growing

solar and wind energy

ConnectGen CEO, Caton Fenz, was interviewed by the New York Times about the impacts the coronavirus is having on the renewable energy industry and if he has reason to believe that the industry is on track for continued growth, given the recent economic turmoil.

“We blew through all of the projections,” said Caton Fenz, chief executive of ConnectGen, a wind, solar and electricity-storage developer based in Houston. “We’re surfing a long-term wave,” he said. “We just can’t get specific things done because of the pandemic, but I don’t think that affects the broader trajectory.”  Read the full article in the New York Times to learn more.

New York taps developers for almost 1.3 GW of solar, wind and storage across upstate region

Gov. Cuomo New York

(Utility Dive) – March 17, 2020

Dive Brief:

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D, on March 13 revealed details of 21 large-scale solar, wind and storage projects that will bring 1,278 MW of capacity and more than $2.5 billion in direct, private investments to the upstate region. The resources will be constructed by eight different developers.
  • The projects were selected by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) as part of its annual procurement to meet the state’s Clean Energy Standard commitment to supply 70% renewable energy by 2030.
  • Clean energy advocates celebrated the announcement, but also stressed that the procurement highlights the need for energy siting reform. In February, Cuomo proposed a new Office of Renewable Energy Permitting to “improve and streamline the process” for developing large-scale renewable energy projects.

Dive Insight:

New York is moving quickly to bring more renewable energy online, with some of the newly-awarded projects expected to begin construction this year, and officials say all of the resources are expected to be operational by 2024. Still, advocates point to the need for changes to how energy resources are developed.

“Now, more than ever, we can benefit from Gov. Cuomo’s plan to streamline the renewable energy siting process,” Anne Reynolds, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, said in a statement.

Cuomo’s announcement “highlights the need to pass project siting and permitting reforms as part of New York’s state budget this year,” David Gahl, senior director of Northeast state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association, said in a statement. “Without streamlined processes, it could take several years for these projects to come online, delaying payback periods and stymieing market growth.”

Proposed by Cuomo last month, the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act would speed up the permitting and construction of renewable energy projects through creation of a dedicated permitting office, and a Clean Energy Resources Development and Incentives Program run by NYSERDA to rapidly advance new build-ready projects. The new law would also prioritize the development of existing or abandoned commercial and industrial sites, and other abandoned or underutilized areas.

The 21 projects include 17 large-scale solar and four wind projects. Two solar projects will include batteries, supporting New York’s goal to install 3 GW of energy storage by 2030.

The projects are expected to create over 2,000 short-term and long-term jobs.

The selected projects have a weighted average award price of $18.59/MW over the 20-year term of the contracts. It is the lowest average award price resulting from a NYSERDA large-scale renewables solicitation in over a decade, according to officials.

The developers behind the 21 projects are: Boralex, SunEast Development, ​NextEra Energy Resources, East Light Partners, TerraForm Power, Terra-Gen, Empire Renewable​s and ConnectGen​.

The largest project is a 270 MW solar facility with 20 MW of associated energy storage, to be developed by ConnectGen in the town of Ripley. NextEra Energy Resources will build a 200 MW solar facility, also with 20 MW of storage, in the town of Conquest.

Boralex was tapped to develop about 180 MW of renewable capacity among four solar facilities, the largest being the 120 MW Greens Corners Solar facility in Jefferson County. The Montréal-based company said the selection marks its entry into the New York market.

“Not only was every project submitted selected,” Boralex President Patrick Lemaire said in a statement, but the company “took these projects from concept to today’s announcement in less than a year.”

NYSERDA said it plans to issue its next solicitation for large-scale renewable energy under the state’s Clean Energy Standard by April 22 — Earth Day.

EDP Renewables, ConnectGen Complete Acquisition of Three First Solar Projects

TEMPE, Ariz./HOUSTON, Texas, December 17, 2019 – US-headquartered First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) announced today that a partnership composed of EDP Renewables and ConnectGen has completed the acquisition of three projects with a total nameplate design of 278 megawatts (MW)AC in the United States. First Solar previously disclosed that the sale of these projects were subject to certain conditions precedent for closing that have since been satisfied.

The projects include the 154MWAC Sun Streams 1 project in Maricopa County, Arizona, the 20MWAC Windhub A project in Kern County, California, and the 103MWAC Sunshine Valley project in Nye County, Nevada. All three projects are scheduled to achieve substantial completion by the end of the fourth quarter of 2019.
“These projects reflect EDP Renewables’ focus on value creation, innovation, and sustainability. Combining responsible development with attractive economics backed by long-term Power Purchase Agreements, they are powered by one of the most innovative and eco-efficient solar technologies available today,” said Miguel Prado, Chief Executive Officer, EDP Renewables North America. “We look forward to adding these projects to our growing portfolio in the United States.”

EDP Renewables is a leading global renewable energy company that operates in markets around the globe. The United States is the company’s biggest market in terms of installed capacity and production. EDP Renewables North America commissioned its first two solar parks in California in January 2015, subsequently adding three solar parks in South Carolina to its operational portfolio.

“ConnectGen and First Solar strive to enable a sustainable energy future, and this deal furthers our goal to provide long-term, cost-effective, renewable energy solutions in the United States,” said Caton Fenz, Chief Executive Officer, ConnectGen. “We look forward to working alongside EDP Renewables and with all project stakeholders to responsibly bring these important projects to fruition.”

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, ConnectGen develops renewable energy and energy storage projects across North America. The company is backed by Quantum Energy Partners, a leading provider of private equity capital to the global energy industry.

“We’ve proven, once again, that investors are focused on the winning formula: responsible development, attractive project economics, and long-term Power Purchase Agreements, underpinned by high-performance PV modules and a partner that stands behind its commitments,” said Georges Antoun, Chief Commercial Officer, First Solar. “We thank EDP Renewables and ConnectGen for their trust and for recognizing the robustness of First Solar’s approach to project development in the United States.”

All three projects are powered by First Solar’s thin film module technology, developed and innovated in the United States. Once commissioned, the projects will be operated by First Solar Energy Services, which, with over 10 gigawatts (GW) under management, is the solar industry’s most experienced Operations and Maintenance (O&M) service provider for large-scale solar power plants.

First Solar is celebrating two decades since its founding in 1999 and 25GWDC of photovoltaic (PV) modules shipped, making it the only American solar manufacturing company to achieve this milestone.

About First Solar, Inc.

First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems, which use its advanced module and system technology. The company’s integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit www.firstsolar.com.

About EDP Renewables

EDP Renewables (Euronext: EDPR) is a global leader in the renewable energy sector and the world’s fourth-largest wind energy producer. With a sound development pipeline, first class assets and market-leading operating capacity, EDPR has undergone exceptional development in recent years and is currently present in 14 international markets (Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, the UK and the US). EDPR has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Engie for the creation of a (50/50) joint venture in the offshore wind energy segment. The new company will become one of the five largest operators of offshore wind energy and will be operational by the end of 2019. Energias de Portugal, S.A. (“EDP”), the principal shareholder of EDPR, is a global energy company and a leader in value creation, innovation and sustainability. EDP has been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for 12 consecutive years. For further information, visit www.edpr.com.

About ConnectGen

ConnectGen is a Quantum Energy Partners portfolio company. Founded in 2018, ConnectGen’s strategy is to apply its proven ability to develop, construct and operate clean energy assets to create a multi-technology portfolio of generation and storage projects across North America. The company is currently developing over 3,500 MW of wind, solar and energy storage projects across seven U.S. states. For more information, visit www.connectgenllc.com.

For First Solar Investors

This release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning First Solar’s sale, construction and operation of PV projects with a total nameplate design of 278MWAC. These forward-looking statements are often characterized by the use of words such as “estimate,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “project,” “plan,” “intend,” “seek,” “believe,” “forecast,” “foresee,” “likely,” “may,” “should,” “goal,” “target,” “might,” “will,” “could,” “predict,” “continue” and the negative or plural of these words and other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements are only predictions based on our current expectations and our projections about future events and therefore speak only as of the date of this release. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements for any reason, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these statements.

These factors include, but are not limited to, the matters discussed under the captions “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Conditions and Results of Operations” of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and our subsequently filed Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, as supplemented by our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Media

Reuven Proença
First Solar Media
reuven.proenca@firstsolar.com

US: Steve Kerekes
Kyte Consulting for First Solar
steve@jkyteconsulting.com

Europe: Doreen Rietentiet
DWR Eco for First Solar
rietentiet@dwr-eco.com

Investors

Mitchell Ennis
First Solar Investor Relations
mitchell.ennis@firstsolar.com

ConnectGen Appoints Chief Executive Officer and Acquires Solar Portfolio

Houston, November 18, 2019: ConnectGen LLC (“ConnectGen”), a Houston-based clean energy portfolio company of Quantum Energy Partners, today announced that Caton Fenz has been appointed as the company’s Chief Executive Officer.

“Many of us have known or worked with Caton for over a decade before he joined ConnectGen as the Chief Development Officer in 2018. We are fortunate to have someone of Caton’s caliber and experience assume this important leadership role,” remarked ConnectGen Chairman Gabriel Alonso. “We are entering a critical phase in the U.S. clean energy market and Caton’s experience will be critical to successfully implement the company’s long-term strategy,” said Alonso.

Additionally, on October 28, ConnectGen partnered with EDP Renewables North America in a 50/50 joint venture to acquire a 278 megawatt (MW) solar portfolio from First Solar, Inc. The portfolio consists of three plants located in Arizona, California and Nevada, each of which is fully contracted under longterm power purchase agreements and expected to achieve commercial operations in the next few months.

“We have positioned the ConnectGen platform over the last 18 months to both develop and acquire projects of this size,” said Fenz. “This acquisition accelerates ConnectGen’s strategy of developing and commercializing high-quality clean energy and energy storage projects across North America.”

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About ConnectGen

Founded in 2018, ConnectGen’s strategy is to apply its proven ability to develop, construct and operate clean energy assets to create a multi-technology portfolio of generation and storage projects across North America. The company currently is developing over 3,500 MW of wind, solar and energy storage projects across seven U.S. states. For more information, please visit www.connectgenllc.com. For ConnectGen press inquiries, or to request an interview, please contact Sarah Bray at (832) 226-2116 or sarah@InnovantPR.com.

About Quantum Energy Partners

Founded in 1998, Quantum Energy Partners is a leading provider of private equity capital to the global energy industry, having managed together with its affiliates more than $17 billion in equity commitments since inception. For more information on Quantum, please visit www.quantumep.com or contact Michael Dalton at (713) 452-2110. To discuss a clean energy investment opportunity with Quantum, please contact Gabriel Alonso at (713) 452-2188.