PVTIME – Atlas Renewable Energy announced that it has obtained a USD 150 million loan from IDB Invest, a member of IDB Group, and from DNB Bank ASA (the largest financial services group in Norway) to finance the construction of its Lar do Sol – Casablanca project, a 359MWp solar project to be developed in Brazil that will provide clean energy to Anglo American’s operations in Minas Gerais.
The loan was secured from IDB Invest, including the Clean Technology Fund and the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in the Americas – Phase II, both administered by IDB Invest, together with a participation from DNB Bank ASA.
The plant will generate 805 GWh per year and the Power Purchase Agreement is, to date, the largest contract with a solar project for the supply of clean energy to a private offtaker in Brazil and indexed to the United States dollar. Lar do Sol – Casablanca’s generation will be the equivalent of supplying energy to 390,000 houses per year according to the average consumption of a Brazilian family and will avoid approximately 50,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year, which could be compared to removing 19,867 vehicles from the streets of São Paulo in the same period.
The Casablanca solar plant is part of Anglo American’s strategy to use 100% renewable energy for its operations in Brazil as of 2022 and is integrated into its Sustainable Mining Plan which has a goal of reducing 30% of its global CO2 emission by 2030.
This transaction was structured following a similar format used by Atlas Renewable Energy in a recently announced financing for its Jacaranda solar plant, which was also financed by IDB Invest and DNB Bank ASA. It also falls under Atlas’ Green Finance Framework – a testament to the company’s commitment to developing projects that protect and preserve the environment while adhering to the highest standards of social and environmental engagement. 100% of the photovoltaic solar modules that will be installed in Lar do Sol- Casablanca will use bifacial technology, increasing project performance with the aim of making electricity production more efficient through solar energy.
Furthermore, in line with Atlas Renewable Energy’s commitment to an ambitious social engagement agenda, the company will be implementing social programs in the local community that actively promote diversity and inclusion. To achieve this, the company will expand its program “we are all part of the same energy” to Lar do Sol – Casablanca’s construction site, an initiative created to train and develop technical skills and knowhow of over 200 women who live in the neighboring communities.
The program also entails promoting women who participate in trainings to have the opportunity to opt for skilled jobs within Lar do Sol – Casablanca’s construction program. The company established a goal to integrate at least 15% of female representation within the total workforce, which aims to quadruplicate the number of women performing technical jobs in solar projects within the region. To that end, actions have been taken to ensure that women are not deterred from working at the project site due to family responsibilities. Among other things, the company will grant working mothers with children between the ages of 0-12 years old a financial incentive to cover childcare expenses. In addition to involving women in the construction process, Atlas has mobilized all contractors in the project to prioritize local minorities in the hiring process, looking to include at least 30% of afro-descendants within the number of women hired and at least 40% within the number of men hired. These goals are part of the company’s approach to ensuring diversity and inclusion within the energy industry and promote equalitarian practices by empowering minorities across all its operations.
“We are pleased to achieve another successful financial close alongside IDB Invest and DNB Bank ASA, two institutions that have become important allies in structuring innovative financing solutions to help consumers transition to renewable energy. Moreover, we are extremely proud of our partnership with IDB Invest in creating a unique and ambitious social responsibility program that directly addresses diversity and inclusion within our value chain. We believe that clean energy should be responsibly sourced, therefore we are committed to tackling social inequalities and cultural biases from our line of work,” said Carlos Barrera, Atlas Renewable Energy’s CEO. “We look forward to continue accelerating the Brazilian market’s renewable energy potential in a sustainable manner, while providing the best-in-class solutions to large energy consumers.”
“This financing demonstrates IDB Invest’s commitment to investing in clean energy and for helping companies dedicated to implementing decarbonization programs in their businesses,” said Gian Franco Carassale, Head of Infrastructure and Energy Division at IDB Invest. “In addition, our institution is proud to work together with Atlas Renewable Energy to support programs where the inclusion of women and minorities is a priority. We hope to have more opportunities like this in the future.”
“We are very proud to once again support Atlas Renewable Energy with this new financing in Brazil through IDB Invest,” said Emilio Fabbrizzi, Managing Director and Head of renewables and infrastructure for the Americas at DNB Markets, Inc. “Apart from implementing a long-term and innovative structure for Brazil, we highlight that it is also aligned with Atlas Renewable Energy’s Green Finance Framework, which was executed through DNB Markets, Inc. in 2019.”