The Export-Import Bank of the US has agreed to provide a 10-year guarantee for a PNC Bank loan worth US$6.4 million. The loan will be used to finance the export of PV modules from SolarWorld Americas, based on the west coast if the US, to Barbados-based Williams Industries-Williams evergreen Ltd.
Williams Industries-Williams evergreen Ltd will use the modules on an on-site 1.4MW PV system to power 10 sites within the Williams Group portfolio. The project — which is said to be one of the largest PV projects in Barbados — will utilize engineering services and solar-system racking exported from two US companies.
Commenting on the guaranteed loan, the chairman of Williams Industries Ralph “Bizzie” Williams, stated, “Without the assistance of Ex-Im Bank, Williams Industries through its subsidiary Williams evergreen would not have been able to build 1.4MW of solar capacity over the last six months. As a feed-in tariff is legislated for Barbados, we are looking forward to working with the Ex-Im Bank to build a very significant expansion of our output of electricity from the sun.”
The Ex-Im Bank has provided loans for the export of US products for several PV projects around the world in recent months, especially for projects located in India. However, in August, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) accused US thin-film manufacturers of trying to ruin the Indian domestic PV market. The CSE claimed that Ex-Im Bank along with OPIC of seducing Indian companies by offering low interest rates of approximately 3%, payable over an 18-year period, compared with an interest rate of close to 14% or more on loans from Indian banks.