Neoen secures financing for 375MW Mexico solar plant


France-based renewable energy firm Neoen has secured US$280 million in debt financing from Bancomext, Natixis and Société Générale for its 375MW El Llano solar project in the state of Aguascalientes in Mexico, the company's largest such project to date.

The project was won in the third Mexican public renewable energy auction in November 2017, with a tariff of US$18.93/MWh.

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El Llano will cover 800 hectares of flat land in central Mexico and will be connected directly to Comisión Federal de Electricidad’s (CFE) high-voltage network, with 70% of the power produced sold to a consortium consisting of CFE SSB, the utility Iberdrola Clientes, and Menkent, a subsidiary of cement-maker Cemex. The purchasing contract will last 15 years for electricity and 20 years for clean energy certificates.  The remainder of the electricity will be sold on the Mexican electricity market.

The plant will use more than a million monocrystalline PV panels from LONGi and Hanwha Q Cells, all combined with trackers from Soltec.

Sinohydro, a subsidiary of PowerChina, and Novamper, a subsidiary of Prodiel, will perform EPC and O&M services on the project. Construction will employ up to 820 people, mostly from the local region.

Lionel Bony, MD of Neoen in Mexico, commented: “Our El Llano power plant enjoys excellent levels of sunshine and very good conditions for grid connection. The size of the farm and the structure of the Mexican electricity market make this an exceptional project from every angle. The project will provide the country’s cheapest solar electricity and has been designed to meet the highest environmental, employment and safety standards.”

Xavier Barbaro, Neoen’s chairman and CEO, added: “Its size, the price of the electricity it will supply and its sophisticated structuring make El Llano an exemplary project for Neoen. It reflects our very strong internal expertise in developing robust, local projects on a very large scale, which allows us to compete successfully in the world’s most competitive tender processes, whether public or private, be they in Mexico or any of the other countries in which we are expanding. I would add my thanks to all our partners who helped us make this project such a success.” 

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