Dallas-based Panda Power Funds today announced that it has raised a $420 million private equity fund to finance new and existing solar energy and natural gas projects in Texas and other high-growth states. The blockbuster fund will be used for construction, capital and infrastructure maintenance.

The two natural gas projects in Texas, in the towns of Sherman and Temple, will generate a total of 1950 megawatts and will be among the cleanest natural gas-fueled power plants in the U.S., according to the firm.

“The closing of our first private equity fund, in this capital market environment, is a validation of the business strategy, market knowledge and industry relationships developed by an executive team that has worked closely together for many years,”  Todd W. Carter, senior partner of Panda Power Funds, said in a release. “We are well positioned to execute our business plan and to take advantage of the significant opportunities we see in the power sector.”

Already $94 million from the fund has been spent on the 20 megawatt Pilesgrove Solar Farm in New Jersey, which is the largest in the Northeast U.S., with more than 71,000 panels and the capacity to power about 5,100 homes, according to NJ.com.

Panda Power Funds was launched in April of 2010 to invest in natural gas and solar power generation facilities and has built energy projects with more than $2.8 billion in financing since the company was started in 1982.