8minutenergy commences construction of 137 MW California solar farm

Renewable energy development company 8minutenergy Renewables has begun construction of the 137 MW Springbok 1 Solar Farm in Kern County, California.

The plant, which has a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) already in place – is being jointly developed with the help of D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI), and will cover 700 acres of low-productivity farmland some 70 miles north of Los Angeles.

Swinerton Builders is acting as the EPC, with 8minutenergy and DESRI overseeing the construction management. Financing has been arranged via a syndicate of lenders, including Santander Bank, OneWest bank, CoBank, Siemens Financial Services and KeyBank National Association.

The U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation has also provided a commitment for tax equity financing.

The construction phase is intended to boost employment opportunities in the region, with the project set to receive the assistance of the LA-based Homeboy Industries – a training program that helps former gang members find gainful employment in the solar energy industry – as well as recruits from a Job Fair set to be held in Kern County this month.

"We are pleased to begin construction of the Springbok project to provide clean energy to the people of Los Angeles with the permitting and financing complete,” Said 8minutenergy Renewables CEO Martin Hermann.

The company’s president, Tom Buttgenbach, added that the construction phase of the Springbok 1 Solar Farm will create an estimated 300 to 400 direct and indirect jobs for the community, and will offset the effect of around 300,000 metric tons of C02 annually.