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Renewable Energy M&A: WEC Energy acquires 80% stake in the first phase of $1.6bn Samson Solar Energy Centre in Texas

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  • Feb 1, 2023

The company has acquired a stake in the 250 MW Samson 1 project from Invenergy. WEC Energy Group's investment in the solar park corresponding to its 80% ownership stake is expected to be ~$250mn. The asset has been operational since May '22 and sells power under a long-term corporate power purchase agreement (PPA) with telecommunications giant AT&T. The project, which marks the second solar investment under WEC’s infrastructure segment, increases the utility’s renewable energy capacity to nearly 2 GW. The project is eligible for production tax credits (PTC) as outlined under the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Samson I is part of the five-phase, 1.3 GW Samson Solar Energy Centre, being built on 18,000 acres in northeast Texas. The project was announced by Invenergy in Nov '20, with a scheduled completion deadline of 2023. Output from the energy center is fully contracted to five investment grade, corporate off-takers, and three municipal utilities. AT&T is the project’s largest off-taker by contracted capacity, signing PPAs for 500 MW of power. Honda, Mcdonald's, Google, and Home Depot are the project’s other commercial and industrial customers. Invenergy reached a financial close on the first 250 MW phase in Jan’21, securing a construction loan, letter of credit facility, and back-leverage term loan. Santander acted as administrative agent, coordinating lead arranger, and book-runner on the transaction, while Societe Generale and Caixabank acted as joint lead arrangers. In Jun’21, the developer reached a financial close on the second phase as well, through a similar agreement with the existing lenders.

WEC Energy serves 4.6 million customers primarily in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan. The company has outlined $5.4bn of investments in renewable energy generation assets during 2022-2026. Additionally, WEC plans to continue investing in renewable generation outside its regulated utility footprint to serve other companies through long-term offtake agreements.

The above analysis is proprietary to Enerdatics’ energy analytics team, based on the current understanding of the available data. The information is subject to change and should not be taken to constitute professional advice or a recommendation.


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