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Altus and Macquarie to Finance Land for Wind and Solar Power

Altus Power America Management LLC, a U.S. renewable-energy investment company, and Macquarie Group Ltd. will invest as much as $100 million in a program to buy land that developers will use for large power projects and lease it back to them.

Leasing the land will free up more capital for renewable-power systems, said Justin Marron, an Altus managing partner and head of origination. Wind and solar projects qualify for federal tax credits that don’t apply to purchases of the land where they’re built.

“They can’t include the cost of the land” in the tax credits, Marron said yesterday in a telephone interview. “For wind guys, solar guys, they want to focus on what gets them the best return and not have that capital stuck in land.”

The first land deal may close as early as the second quarter, Marron said. The nationwide program will target the U.S. West and Southwest where “there’s more open land and more of a likelihood that someone’s willing to sell.”

Altus, based in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, started a fund in November to finance commercial solar projects.

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