SAG Solarstrom completes sale of 48MW Serenissima plant

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SAG Solarstrom has sold its 48MW Serenissima PV plant in Northern Italy to an unnamed institutional investor. The purchase contract, valued “in line with the market rate in the triple-digit million-euro range”, was signed on December 31, 2011 and is subject to the usual conditions precedent. Payment will be made to SAG Solarstrom sometime in Q1.

Serenissima is the largest PV installation built by SAG Solarstrom to date, and its 200,000 ground-mounted solar modules will produce more than 64 million kWh of electricity per annum. The system was connected to the grid in late summer, thus meeting the August 31 deadline for Italy’s old feed-in tariff rate.

“We spent a very long time in intensive negotiations with various prospective customers regarding the project, and even decided against certain offers,” SAG Solarstrom sales director Oliver Günther said. “The new Conto Energia, in particular, and the increasingly difficult general conditions in the solar industry dragged out negotiations.

”However, Serenissima is an extremely attractive project, so we deliberately took the time to negotiate a suitable price with the right investor. At the same time, the new Italian solar tax also needs to be taken into consideration.”

Much of the funding for Serenissima came in the form of an €80-million financing commitment from Deutsche Bank. SAG Solarstrom also collaborated with Trina Solar and Yingli Green Energy on the development, with the two Chinese manufacturing giants signing module supply deals.

“The financing conditions, in particular for projects of this size, have increasingly deteriorated over the course of the year,” added Christoph Koch, SAG Solarstrom’s financial director. “The commitment by the Deutsche Bank to interim financing in the amount of €80 million in the middle of the financial crisis and the emerging bank crisis was really a major achievement and a mark of confidence, even though the financing costs were high and have unfortunately risen considerably due to the European debt crisis and resulting bank crisis over the course of the year.”

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