Project Focus: SunPower subsidiary receives financing for Montalto di Castro plant

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Andromeda PV, the wholly owned subsidiary of SunPower, has reportedly received a €200 million loan from BNP Paribas and Société Générale in order to construct the two solar photovoltaics plants at Montalto di Castro, Italy, which will together have a capacity of 51MW.

Moodys issued a press release to this effect, stating that SunPower expects construction and financing of these projects to be completed by the end of December 2010. The project loan has a fixed rate basis with a tenor of 18 years. There are two €100 million tranches of the note, with the A1 tranche receiving an Aa2 investment grade rating and the A2 tranche receiving a Baa3 investment grade rating. The subsidiary also received a VAT facility from Société Générale of €22 million. The loans were made to the project subsidiary, and can only be used in the construction of the Montalto facility.

In response to this news, industry analysts Barclays Capital have said that SunPower still needs to close debt financing and sell the equity piece, in order to recognize revenues. “But this announcement gives us more confidence that the company will reach its 2010 revenue guidance of US$2 billion – US$2.25 billion, and Non-GAAP EPS of US$1.35 – US$1.65. This is the first investment grade solar debt deal of meaningful size.”

If it is successful, SunPower should be able to secure financing for similar sized projects in 2011. Implied project ASPs of ~€ 5/W (assuming 80/20 debt/equity) is well above Barclays’ current ASP assumption of US$5.80/W.”

“Our model assumes 130MW of system shipments in Q410, of which ~110MW will come from the following projects in the Italian market: (i) 51MW Montalto Project, (2) ~25MW of EPC only plants, (iii) 13MW Solare Roma power plant (which is yet to receive financing), and (iv) 20MW Montalto project, of which SunPower recognized EPS revenue during 2009,” concluded Barclays.

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