SolarCity to Move Forward with Military Project
SolarCity in September announced an ambitious $1 billion plan to put solar panels on 160,000 homes and buildings on military bases across the country.
But its "SolarStrong" idea faltered when a $344 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy fell through because it failed to close before the Sept. 30 statutory deadline.
Now SolarStrong is back -- without any government help.
SolarCity and Bank of America Merrill Lynch on Wednesday are set to announce financing to allow SolarCity to go forward with the project on a slightly smaller scale. Under the new plan, SolarCity will install solar panels on 120,000 military housing units in 33 states -- the equivalent of 300 megawatts of solar generation capacity. When complete, SolarStrong will be the largest residential solar project in the United States.
BofA Merrill, which had joined SolarCity in applying for the DOE loan guarantee, is providing a loan of up to $350 million. "Bank of America Merrill never wavered when the loan guarantee wasn't finalized and worked with us to create a financing structure that works without it," SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive said in an interview.
SolarCity plans to partner with leading private developers of military housing to install the rooftop solar systems and expects to create hundreds of full- and part-time jobs. The company is recruiting veterans and military family members who have been struggling through the economic downturn for the installation jobs.