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Etrion and Total secure financing for 70MWp Chilean solar project

Etrion Corporation and SunPower Corporation, an affiliate of Total New Energies, have announced that financing for the construction of the 70 MWp Salvador Project in the Atacama region of Chile has been secured.

Project Salvador will be the world’s largest solar power plant based on spot market electricity (“merchant”) revenues. It was designed by SnPower to incorporate the SunPower Oasis Power Block technology and construction is expected to start in January 2014 with full commissioning in early 2015.

The electricity generated by the project will initially be sold on the spot market and delivered to the Sistema Interconectado Central (“SIC”) electricity network with the ability to secure future power purchase agreements (“PPAs”). The plant will be located on 133 hectares leased from the Chilean government thorough a long-term concession and connected through the power infrastructure of Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile /”Codelco”). Once operational, Project Salvador is expected to produce approximately 200 gigawatt-hours of solar electricity per year, enough to supply electricity to approximately 80.000 households in Chile.

PV Salvador, the projects special purpose vehicle (SPV) recentrly signed a project finance facility agreement with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. government’s development finance institution, to finance 70 percent of the approximately US$200 million project cost through long-term non-recourse project debt. The remaining 30 percent equity portion will be funded by Etrion, Total and the initial project developer, Solventus, based on their respective ownership interests. Etrion has a US$42 million credit facility from its major shareholder, the Lundin family, to fund is equity commitment. Following the initial payback, Etrion’s ownership in the project will decrease from 70 percent to 50.01 percent and after 20 years of operations the down to zero.

“This is Etrion’s first project to be financed and under construction in the Americans, and we look forward to working with the same partners on future projects” said Marco A. Northland, Etrion’s chief executive officer. “Project Salvador almost doubles our installed capacity and is expected to grow our cash flow by approximately 50 percent, transforming Etrion into a global solar power generation platform.”

Bernadr Clement, senior vice president business operations, Total Nes Energies added that the project will deliver advanced solar generation, operation technologies and management practices while creating a significant positive impact on local businesses and people.

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