Commercial, Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  April 16, 2019

Starbucks teams up for local power in Texas

Starbucks Coffee Company, Cypress Creek Renewables, and U.S. Bank are teaming up on a portfolio of solar farms across Texas. As a part of the deal, two solar farms developed, built and now operated by Cypress Creek are providing enough energy for the equivalent of 360 Starbucks stores in Texas, including stores in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano and Arlington.

“Investing in green energy is one way Starbucks supports its aspiration of sustainable coffee served sustainably,” noted a statement announcing the portfolio. “Not only is Starbucks continuing to lead the way in purchasing renewable energy to reduce its environmental impact, the company is also being more regionally intentional with its approach by investing in local projects to directly support the markets where it has stores.”

The 10-megawatt solar farms are located in Wharton and Blossom, Texas. ENGIE Resources is providing full retail energy requirements, including a structure that provides budget certainty via a fixed price and a simple retail energy supply contract. Additionally, Starbucks is separately investing in six Cypress Creek-owned solar farms in Texas, representing 50 megawatts of solar energy.

“At Starbucks, we are proud of our 30-year legacy in environmental leadership as we know the planet is our most important partner,” said Rebecca Zimmer, Starbucks director of global environmental impact. “Our long-standing commitment to renewable energy supports our greener retail initiative and demonstrates our aspiration to sustainable coffee, served sustainably. Now, we are investing in new, renewable energy projects in our store communities, which we know is something our partners and customers can appreciate for their local economy and for the environment.”

The U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, the tax credit division of U.S. Bank, facilitated the transaction and provided a portion of the tax equity investment. Chris Roetheli, business development officer with the USBCDC, said solar tax equity investments are increasing in popularity among non-traditional investors. “Starbucks is taking a unique approach – investing in solar farms regionally to support a specific group of its stores,” he said. This is a new concept and one that I think other companies are watching and may follow. It’s an interesting model that allows them to talk specifically about the impact of their investments.”

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