TAEBC member Silicon Ranch Corporation (SRC), a leading U.S. developer, owner, and operator of solar energy plants located in Nashville, Tennessee, has closed on an equity investment round that raised in excess of $55 million.

Partners Group, a global private markets investment manager with over $57 billion in assets under management, led the round with a $40 million commitment on behalf of its clients. Partners Group was joined in this investment round by other Silicon Ranch shareholders, including the Greystone Infrastructure Fund managed by Greystone Managed Investments Inc., a Canadian investment management firm with over $30 billion Canadian dollars under management.

In closing this latest equity raise, Silicon Ranch attracted more than $165 million of new equity capital during the course of 2016. In April, the company announced a $100 million equity commitment from Partners Group on behalf of its clients, a platform investment that aligned the Swiss-headquartered firm with one of the fastest-growing independent power producers in the U.S.

TAEBC wanted to learn more about what this equity investment signifies for Tennessee as SRC looks ahead to a growing future in the solar power industry.

TAEBC interviewed SRC President and CEO Matt Kisber as well as SRC’s Chief Marketing Officer Matt Beasley about the investment.

Q: You all closed on an equity round of more than $55 million dollars led by Partners Group. And overall last year, SRC attracted more than $165 million of new equity capital. What does this mean for Tennessee in terms of the anticipated growth that’ll be coming from Silicon Ranch?

A: I think ultimately this reflects SRC leadership in an emerging solar industry by first of all executing a clear business strategy and then on top of that finding the right financial partners to support it. We have proven both of those things by more than doubling our operating capacity in 2016 and by closing these equity investments. We have proven you can base your company in Tennessee and be a successful player in the U.S. solar industry. We plan to continue to invest in Tennessee and recruit talented individuals to join our team in Nashville.

Solar provides a range of benefits to the communities we serve. Beyond the significant environmental benefits, solar also brings a genuine economic proposition and an economic development tool for communities to leverage.

Q: What new solar power goals and accelerated momentum is this investment inspiring within your office?

A: The $165 million will provide equity to grow our portfolio and explore opportunities in new markets. With our growth, we now develop and operate close to 300 MW of solar across the country, and we’ve more than doubled our staff.

We have 21 team members in our Nashville office, a lot of them were hired in 2016 during this watershed year in our company’s history. That wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our investors. We’ve got the financial resources we have today thanks in large part to our awesome partners, including Partners Group and Greystone Managed Investments. They have fully supported our growth by drawing on their own long track records of investment in our sector globally. They’re great partners.

Specific to our work in Tennessee, the Millington solar farm will be the largest solar power plant in the state once construction is complete in 2018. It will provide energy security, clean renewable power, and a range of economic benefits. We have worked in close partnership with the local industrial development board to maximize the positive benefit to their work on behalf of the community. Our work in Millington will also provide real benefits to the electrical infrastructure in the area.

Q: Where do you see Silicon Ranch Corporation ten years from now thanks to this equity investment?

A: Ten years from now the solar market in the U.S. will be much larger. I predict we will see tremendous growth throughout the country for solar. I predict the country will better embrace solar technologies, including battery storage.

The solar industry in the U.S. is in the midst of rapid, dynamic expansion, and Silicon Ranch is well positioned to play a meaningful role in its development. Solar will continue to be SRC’s primary focus, and we’ll be looking to scale our strong platform in the U.S. solar market. Here in Tennessee, we’ll look to grow our team in line with this growth and to support our position as a significant player in renewable energy.

We have the right ingredients for continued growth. We’ve got a good track record, a talented team, an active board, and great investors. In our six years, we’ve got solar projects in six states and have plans to expand into new markets over the next few years.

Q: Anything else?

A: While SRC plays a role in Tennessee’s economic development there are other companies in the community doing their part as well. Shoals Technologies Group in Sumner County, for example, manufactures “balance of systems” solutions and stands today as a leader in the renewable energy industry, exporting their products all over the world. So I think its fair to say that Tennessee has an important place in the solar global supply chain through the great work of a number of companies across the state.