OPIC Board Approves Financing for Solar Plant in Chile
June 27, 2014
WASHINGTON – The Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, has approved an investment guaranty of up to $230 million to First Solar, Inc. to support construction and operation of the Luz del Norte power project, a solar photovoltaic park in Chile’s Atacama desert. This will be the largest photovoltaic project in Latin America once complete, producing 141 megawatts of renewable energy.
“The entire Latin American region has a growing need for innovative and efficient energy solutions right now,” said Tim Rebhorn, Senior Vice President, Project Development at First Solar. “Chile’s Luz del Norte project is the first of many opportunities we are pursuing in this region, and the support we’ve received from OPIC has been instrumental in bringing the project to life.”
Chile’s National Energy Strategy outlines an ongoing effort to expand that country’s renewable energy capacity to 20% of total generated power by 2025. The grid-connected Luz del Norte project will contribute significantly to this goal.
Chile’s Atacama Desert receives some of the planet’s steadiest concentrations of direct sunlight, presenting ideal conditions for solar power generation. Widespread utilization of this tremendous resource is relatively new, and First Solar’s OPIC-supported Luz del Norte project represents an important advancement for development of solar energy in the region.
“OPIC is proud to be playing an instrumental role in supporting investments in renewable resources around the world,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “The construction of Luz del Norte will help pave the way for further solar power development in Chile, where the potential for this clean, renewable resource is unrivalled. At the same time, the project helps the U.S. business First Solar to expand its operations abroad. This intersection of positive development impact overseas, growth of an innovative American company and progress in supporting the deployment of clean, renewable energy epitomizes OPIC’s work as the U.S. Government’s development finance institution.”
First Solar, a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar power systems, is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona. First Solar’s integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar's renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment. The company has installed over 8,000 megawatts of solar power across six continents since it was founded in 1999.
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help solve critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, guaranties, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds.
Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 150 countries worldwide. To date, OPIC has supported more than $200 billion of investment in over 4,000 projects, generated an estimated $76 billion in U.S. exports and supported more than 278,000 American jobs.