US government to give US$230 million to First Solar Chile project



The US government’s development finance institution, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is to provide a US$230 million loan for a solar power project in Chile.

OPIC will provide up to US$230 million to thin-film solar company, First Solar for the development and operation of the 141MW Luz Del Norte solar power plant in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

OPIC has said the loan will be used to finance the “development, construction, commissioning, and operation” of the solar plant. The total cost of the project is US$366 million. OPIC decided that the purchase of US solar modules and components for the project would have a positive effect on the US economy.

Luz Del Norte is scheduled to begin construction this month. The construction and operation of the facility is expected to be non-subsidised, with energy generated by the Luz del Norte project to be primarily used by the Chilean mining industry.

The funding decisions were decided in OPIC’s quarterly meeting on 12 June. Funding is granted to assist the US private sector move into emerging markets.

Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s president and CEO said: “The projects span five continents and support game-changing developments like large-scale renewable power, next-generation telecom infrastructure, expanded mortgage finance, improved healthcare and widespread access to finance for small and medium businesses.”

Other investments also included US$186 million to a 145MW wind project in Mexico and US$100 million for a 50MW wind project in Pakistan.

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