EDF taps €1 billion in solar project financing: exclusive use of First Solar modules

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In a significant move by EDF Energies Nouvelles to boost its solar energy portfolio, the renewable energy producer has secured new project finance that is underpinned by a €500 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB). EIB is financing 50% of planned projects in both France and Italy through 2012, while commercial banks will support each project with the other 50% of project finance required. EDF is exclusively using First Solar’s CdTe thin film modules for the €1 billion of projects over the next 2-years.

Two pilot projects, the Gabardan ground-based solar farm in France (three 12 MWp tranches, Landes) and the Loreo ground-based solar farm in Italy (12.5 MWp, Veneto) will be financed in early 2010 under this agreement.

“We are very happy with this innovative financing solution put together with the EIB that has been made possible by the volume of our projects’ portfolio,” commented Pâris Mouratoglou, Chairman of the Board of Directors of EDF Energies Nouvelles. “Perfectly suited to photovoltaic projects, which have a smaller average unit size than in wind energy, this financing structure will help EDF EN to step up the pace of completion of its numerous projects under development in France and Italy and will facilitate achievement of our ambitious objectives.”

“The support that we are providing to EDF Energies Nouvelles’ projects fits perfectly with the framework of the national and European policies in support of renewable energies and will help to meet the targets of combating global warming and promoting energy independence, while contributing to the development of innovative technologies,” remarked Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank. “We are convinced that R&D and investment in innovative and sustainable projects, in all strategic sectors including energy to stop climate change, are essential to economic revival and growth in our countries.”

EDF and First Solar are also planning to build a dedicated thin film plant in France, which will be operated by First Solar exclusively for EDF and its solar projects.

However, First Solar noted in its latest analyst meeting that it has a significant pipeline of projects in Europe of the next few years and will be ramping new production lines in Malaysia to meet demand.

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