Leyline Renewable Capital Year in Review
2022 has been yet another busy year for Leyline Renewable Capital. We crafted new investment options, worked with many new partners, attended and spoke at clean energy conferences across the United States, and continued to further our environmental, social, and governance (ESG) priorities. While it is difficult to encapsulate everything into one short article, let’s take a look at some key highlights.
Updated Capital Offerings
This year, Leyline revamped our lending tools to ensure that we can support renewable developers throughout the project process. Rather than providing equity, our offerings allow developers to create their own destinies without any external ownership influence.
Another exciting feature of the IRA is that it makes solar and standalone storage investment tax credits transferable. As a result, Leyline is now offering a new product: Leyline Tax Credit Bridge Loan. This loan provides cash for project construction, development, or deposits by borrowing against the value of a transferable tax credit. It can help avoid tax equity uncertainty and eliminate tax investor buyouts. Leyline also specializes in helping developers take advantage of credits and matching the right product to the project.
New Partnerships and Investment Deals
This year, we partnered with Evansol LLC, Belltown Power, M&F Bank, Solterra Energy, Intersect Power, Capacity Power Group, and Navitas Energy. These investments supported developing landfill gas projects, greenfields, a minority-owned bank, solar distributed generation, energy storage systems, and other clean infrastructure.
- U.K.-based Belltown Power utilized Leyline’s bridge capital to move two early-state greenfield projects totalling 460 megawatts (MW) to sale in only one year. Belltown’s capital was initially tied up in ERCOT and PJM balances, but Leyline’s loan allowed for a quicker timeline, overhead payments, and supporting employee salaries. The new projects were able to interconnect with PJM in less than 12 months.
- M&F Bank is the only minority-owned bank and community development financial institution in the state of North Carolina. Leyline’s deposit helped advance the bank’s Empower Share Class Fund, which supports underserved communities through technology investments, lending, and financial literacy programs.
- Leyline provided $10 million in early-stage growth and development capital to Solterra Energy, which will support up to a gigawatt (GW) of distributed generation and utility-scale solar development.
- Leyline provided $50 million in bridge capital to support clean infrastructure developer Intersect Power through a corporate strategy shift. The funding ensured reliable, continued project deposits and capital expenditures for utility-scale solar and storage through the transition.
- Leyline’s growth capital supported battery storage developer Capacity Power Group (CPG) in developing around 570 MW of standalone energy storage systems across four markets in the western U.S.
- Leyline partnered with Navitas Energy to support development of 500 to 1,000 MW of standalone energy storage in the ERCOT energy market.
Events and Speaking Opportunities
In 2022, Leyline actively worked to connect with leading developers around the country and provide insight for a successful clean energy transition. In April, CEO Erik Lensch spoke on an ESG panel at the North Carolina State Energy Conference. Erik emphasized Leyline’s unique position as a clean energy lender, working at the crossroads of private equity capital and renewable energy. Leyline ensures that our goals go beyond profit, serving a crucial mission to support justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion (JEDI) through sustainable investing, transparent reporting, and equitable hiring practices. At the NC State Energy Conference, Erik encouraged others to do the same.
In September, the Leyline team headed to California to attend the RE+ Conference, the largest clean energy event in North America. Our team attended sessions on energy security, microgrids, electric vehicles and charging, and other emerging clean technologies. Our team hosted a session where we connected with developers to discuss our development capital and bridge lending for high-impact renewable energy projects. At Leyline, we always want to stay on the cutting edge, and we were excited to learn from and engage with companies from across the globe at RE+.
In October, Erik Lensch spoke at the Making Energy Work Conference in Raleigh, NC about financing the clean energy transition. He was also selected as one of the Triangle Business Journal’s 2022 Leaders in Diversity for Leyline’s commitment to combating racism and incorporating social and environmental equity and accountability in everything we do. Erik additionally sat down with the Triangle Business Journal and New Project Media to share insight on current energy markets, the Inflation reduction Act (IRA), and Leyline’s energy portfolio.
Lastly, we are pleased to announce that Erik Lensch joined the board of the Carolinas Clean Energy Business Association and the newly-launched Sharing the Power Foundation, an environmental justice and inclusive clean-energy grantmaking organization. We are excited to continue our engagement in the renewable energy community with these great organizations.
Commitment to Environmental Impact and Social Change
We mentioned it before in this piece, but want to emphasize again: Leyline was created to make a difference in the world, both through our investments in projects and in the way that we operate. We are proud of our JEDI progress in 2022. We continued our efforts to combat systemic racism through the Leyline Addressing Racism group – led by our new JEDI manager – and met monthly to continue learning and expanding our perspectives.
Leyline is also committed to supporting employee diversity and youth education. Our JEDI director works closely with the Director of People and Culture to ensure that hiring and onboarding processes are as inclusive as possible. We participated in career fairs and led a solar and renewables education event at a high school where 90 percent of students are people of color (PoC). We hosted a Renewable Energy Externship at Leyline (REEAL) and an Environment, Social Governance (ESG) intern, as well as worked to develop a new Sustainability, Entrepreneurship, and Empowerment Network (SEEN) Fellowship.
We also continue to work on projects that support communities in need, and overall, projects that are good for both people and the planet. Leyline has adopted broadly accepted ESG criteria, markers which track how well our organization meets and progresses across a number of environmental, social, and governance categories. As of the third quarter of 2022:
- 37.5 percent of Leyline employees self-designate as part of a historically underrepresented or ethnic group in finance or renewable energy;
- 41.6 percent of Leyline employees self-identified as a historically underrepresented gender identity in finance or renewable energy;
- Leyline has financed 5.58 GW of total electricity generation capacity;
- Leyline projects have avoided 68,105 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions
- We have invested $171.3 million in carbon-reducing projects;
- Leyline projects have enabled 176.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in lifetime renewable energy output.
Looking Toward 2023 Priorities
We expect big things in the new year. In addition to investigating new and emerging technologies, expanding our social and environmental justice work, and engaging through conferences and speaking engagements, Leyline looks forward to seeing how the IRA helps drive clean energy development in the United States.
The IRA will allocate 1.8 GW of “environmental justice solar” credits in 2023. Low-income and Indigenous communities receiving an allocation will be eligible for a 10 percent bonus investment tax credit. Low-income residential building projects and low-income economic benefit projects will be eligible for a 20 percent bonus credit. Leyline will be engaging with brownfields projects in the coming year, some of which will qualify for these credits.
Brownfields are properties that are compromised by the presence of a hazardous contaminant, and through new programming, we hope to support a transition to “brightfields” – utility-scale solar and other clean energy technologies sited on brownfields. These particularly can benefit low-income and/or communities of color that were once exposed to environmental hazards. Leyline is excited to partner with developers on brownfields to brightfields projects, helping developers de-risk brightfield sites and offering capital and expertise to accelerate development.
Thanks to all for a great 2022. Happy New Year!