rPlus Energies and Appaloosa Solar 1 Project Partners Launch the ‘Local First – Appaloosa Solar 1 Scholarship’, Committing $120,000 to Students of Iron County, UT

rPlus Energies is joined by Gardner Group, Sundt and Greenbacker Capital Management

SALT LAKE CITY–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today rPlus Energies, Gardner Group, Sundt, and Greenbacker Capital Management (“Greenbacker”) announce the Local First – Appaloosa Solar 1 Scholarship in conjunction with Southern Utah University (SUU). The $120,000 scholarship is specifically for students who currently reside in Iron County, UT — home to the 200-megawatt (MW) Appaloosa Solar 1 project.

The Local First Scholarship series will be available exclusively to students residing in counties where rPlus Energies constructs a namesake project. The scholarship series supports students wishing to remain local while pursuing their career goals and assists communities in meeting their workforce needs by providing full and partial tuition scholarships to local university certificate and degree programs. The series was launched last year for students residing in Carbon County, UT, where the now operational 80 MW Graphite Solar project is located.

We are thrilled to launch our second Local First Scholarship program, this time in Iron County,” said rPlus Energies President and CEO, Luigi Resta. “Iron County has been a great partner throughout the development and construction of Appaloosa Solar 1. By providing this scholarship we hope to empower Iron County residents to enhance their skills and knowledge, and ultimately contribute back to the growth of this vibrant community.”

The Local First – Appaloosa Solar 1 Scholarship will provide a total of $120,000 to SUU qualifying students who reside in Iron County, UT and plan to stay local after degree or certificate completion. The applicants can pursue any certificate, associate, or 4-year program.

We are delighted to welcome rPlus Energies, Gardner Group, Sundt and Greenbacker Capital as members of the T-Bird Family and appreciate their partnership to elevate SUU’s and Iron County’s future,” said SUU President Mindy Benson. “The impact of this scholarship will be felt not only by the awarded students, but also the entire Iron County region as it encourages additional workforce and economic development opportunities in our community.”

The Local First– Appaloosa Solar 1 Scholarship program is currently open to Fall 2023 applicants through the MYSUU portal. Students will need to be admitted to SUU to be eligible to apply for the award.

Sundt is honored to support the Local First Scholarship program and the Iron County students it serves,” said Sundt Renewables President Tom Dodson. “Helping local communities meet their workforce needs aligns with Sundt’s purpose to build environments where all people can prosper.”

Being a responsible community partner is one of our core values,” said Ben Tillar, Investments Principal at Greenbacker. “We’re proud to continue contributing to the Local First scholarship series and supporting both education and the local workforce in Iron County.”

About Appaloosa Solar 1

Appaloosa Solar 1 is a 200 MW solar project located in Iron County, UT. The project broke ground in 2022 and is expected to reach commercial operation in early 2024.

Greenbacker Capital Management, a leading renewable energy asset manager, owns a majority sponsor position in Appaloosa Solar 1, which is the company’s largest clean energy asset to date. Sundt Construction, with significant experience in Utah — including the rPlus-developed Graphite Solar Project, is providing engineering, procurement, and construction for Appaloosa Solar 1. rPlus Energies, a subsidiary of the Gardner Group, is the developer and construction manager of Appaloosa Solar 1.

About rPlus Energies

rPlus is a team of committed energy industry professionals working together to develop large-scale renewable energy generation and electric storage projects in the United States. rPlus specializes in bringing projects to market through partnership with the private sector, municipalities, utilities, and industry-leading technology and service providers. Its portfolio consists of a strategic mix of solar, solar plus battery, wind, and pumped storage hydro facilities. rPlus’ projects contribute to the economic and technological modernization of America’s energy systems. rPlus is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah and operates as a subsidiary of the Gardner Group.

About Gardner Group

Gardner Group is a privately-owned collective of companies dedicated to sustainability, innovation, quality real estate development and re-investing back into communities through results-oriented philanthropy. The Gardner family’s 40-year-old, full-service commercial real estate company specializes in the development of retail centers, multi-family residential, office, industrial, medical campuses and senior living. In 2018 the subsidiary, rPlus Energies was established to build utility-scale renewable energy infrastructure across America. In support of innovation, Gardner formed a partnership with Philo Ventures in 2021.

About Sundt

Sundt Construction, Inc. (www.sundt.com) is one of the country’s largest and most respected general contractors. The 133-year-old firm specializes in transportation, industrial, building, concrete, and renewable power work and is owned entirely by its approximately 2,000 employees. Much of Sundt’s workforce is comprised of skilled craft professionals who, together with the company’s administrative employees, enable Sundt to fulfill its mission to be the most skilled builder in America. The company has won 27 AGC Build America awards, which is more than any other general contractor. Sundt has 12 offices throughout California, Arizona, North Carolina, Texas, Portland-metro, and Utah and is currently ranked the country’s 61st largest construction company by ENR, the industry’s principal trade magazine.

About Greenbacker Capital Management

Greenbacker Capital Management LLC is an SEC registered investment adviser that provides advisory and oversight services related to project development, acquisition, and operations in the renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainability industries. For more information, please visit www.greenbackercapital.com.

About Southern Utah University

Southern Utah University is a caring campus community where students come to explore their interests and prepare for meaningful careers and life experiences. Offering more than 150 undergraduate programs, 32 graduate and certificate programs, as well as a professional doctorate degree across seven academic colleges, SUU proudly offers world-class, project-based learning opportunities where students gain professional experience before entering the job market.

Located in the world’s best backyard, SUU is the University of the Parks® thanks to its close proximity to several outdoor recreational areas and its educational partnerships with the National Park Service. SUU’s safe, residential campus allows students – more than 12,000 – to create lifelong friendships along with once-in-a-lifetime outdoor adventures in conjunction with innovative academic endeavors.


For more information on the Local First – Appaloosa Solar 1 Scholarship or rPlus Energies:
Maile Resta

Communications Associate, rPlus Energies


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