Greenbacker announces acquisition of 11.3 MWdc solar project in Minnesota

Project sites showcase company’s land stewardship goals with plans for sheep grazing and pollinator planting

New York, NY, November 8, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company LLC (“GREC” or “Greenbacker”), a leading owner and operator of sustainable infrastructure and energy efficiency projects, announced today that, through a wholly owned subsidiary, it has purchased a pre-operational 11.3-MWdc solar project from OneEnergy Renewables (“OneEnergy”). The Fillinona project, which is located on four separate sites across Minnesota, builds out Greenbacker’s operations in a state with robust clean energy goals.

The project illustrates Greenbacker’s holistic approach to land management at its renewable energy assets. Two of its sites, Stockton and Fountain, will have pollinator-friendly vegetation planted beneath the solar panel arrays, to help support declining pollinator populations and contribute to a healthy local biosphere. The other two sites, Hazel (near Lanesboro) and Rushford Village, will be planted to provide grazing for nearby farmers’ sheep.

Land for the project is leased from local farm families and towns, generating reliable income for the landowners over the project’s life. Two of the sites are also part of an agreement to sell renewable energy credits to Stonyfield Organic, the country’s leading organic yogurt manufacturer, which has committed to having its dairy supply chain run on 100% renewable electricity by 2025.

Fillinona is slated to reach commercial operation in the fourth quarter of 2021, producing clean power for Fillmore and Winona counties in southeastern Minnesota. On October 25, 2021, the offtaker utility, MiEnergy Cooperative, hosted an event at the Rushford Village site to commemorate the project’s mechanical completion.

The project was developed and constructed by OneEnergy, a seasoned developer of community and utility-scale solar projects, and represents Greenbacker’s largest direct partnership with the company.

“Working on this project with OneEnergy and Stonyfield, two firms focused on healthy people and a healthy planet, has been a natural fit,” said Charles Wheeler, CEO of GREC. “Environmental health is a top priority for us—one that goes hand in hand with being responsible custodians of the land our projects occupy.”

“OneEnergy is excited to bring the Fillinona projects into operation and advance our partnership with Greenbacker and MiEnergy” said Eric Udelhofen, Development Director of OneEnergy. “We appreciate the trust our landowner and community partners have placed in us to see the projects from initial concept to operations, and we look forward to remaining involved as they transition to serving their communities with a dual purpose: clean energy production and ecosystem services.”

Each of Fillinona’s four sites have the same long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with MiEnergy, a rural electric cooperative whose consumers will soon start receiving locally generated clean energy from the project.

“In cooperation with Dairyland Power Cooperative, we’ve been able to enter into this PPA for local, renewable energy within our electric service territory,” said Brian Krambeer, MiEnergy president and CEO. “The strategic location of the arrays will provide wholesale power cost savings that will benefit all members of our cooperative.”

Greenbacker’s fleet of sustainable infrastructure projects comprises approximately 2.2 GW of generating capacity (this includes both Fillinona and assets that are to be constructed). Since 2016, Greenbacker’s real assets have generated 3.0 million megawatt-hours1 of clean energy, abating 2.1 million metric tons of carbon.2 Today these projects support 2,700 green jobs.3

Eric Udelhofen, OneEnergy Renewables’ Director of Development, speaks at Fillinona’s Rushford Village site about the clean energy and ecological benefits the project will provide. Photo courtesy of OneEnergy.

1 As of June 30, 2021.

2 Carbon abatement is calculated using the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator which uses the AVoided Emissions and geneRation Tool (AVERT) US national weighted average CO2 marginal emission rate to convert reductions of kilowatt-hours into avoided units of carbon dioxide emissions. As of June 30, 2021.

3 Green jobs are calculated from the International Renewable Energy Agency‘s measurement that one megawatt of renewable power supports 3.8 jobs. As of June 30, 2021.

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