The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) approved $103.2 million in financing for two more solar transactions in India in the final months of fiscal year 2011. The approvals brought the total number of Indian solar projects that the Bank has financed in FY 2011 to six and the Bank’s total authorizations for these projects to $176.4 million.
The recent increased demand for solar power in India is in part due to India’s national solar initiative, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, and its establishment of a clean energy fund valued at $223 million. The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy also provides subsidies up to 70 percent on the installation costs of solar photovoltaic power plants.
Indian financial institutions have just begun financing solar transactions in India under the National Solar Mission and independent solar-power projects to be constructed under several states’ off-take programs. Ex-Im Bank’s support was needed due to a general lack of available long-term financing at commercially feasible terms for solar projects in India.
“India is making a big push for renewable energy,” Ex-Im Bank Chairman Fred P. Hochberg said. “Solar companies in the United States know that if they can get into this growing market, they have a bright future ahead of them. Ex-Im Bank stands ready to help our exporters win that future.”
On August 25, 2011, Ex-Im Bank’s board of directors approved an $84.3 million direct loan to Dahanu Solar Power Pvt. Ltd. supporting the purchase of thin-film solar panels from First Solar Inc. and other U.S. exports for the construction of a 40-MW photovoltaic (PV) solar-power plant in the state of Rajasthan, India.
“Financing is a critical part of any solar project, and the support from Ex-Im Bank has helped to provide Dahanu Solar Power with First Solar’s advanced, thin-film modules,” said Jim Brown, president of First Solar’s Utility Systems Business Group. “Collaborating with Ex-Im Bank accelerates renewable-energy deployment, allowing our customers to meet the growing demand for clean, renewable solar energy in India.”
On September 30, 2011, the Ex-Im Bank board of directors approved an $18.9 million direct loan to Tatith Energies of Gujarat, India. The loan will support the purchase of construction services from American Capital Energy and solar panels from SolarWorld California. The U.S. exports will be used in the construction of a 5 MW solar PV crystalline power project in the state of Gujarat, India.
Founded in 2005, American Capital Energy (ACE) is a privately held, solar engineering, procurement and construction contractor and solar developer in North Chelmsford, Mass. ACE helps businesses adopt solar power as a viable cost-savings solution and also works with utilities to meet their renewable-energy portfolio standard requirements through strategic partnerships with solar PV module manufacturers and installation companies.
SolarWorld California LLC is a subsidiary of SolarWorld AG, which is headquartered in Bonn, Germany. SolarWorld AG’s core business is solar energy, combining all stages of the solar value chain from the raw material silicon to turn-key solar-power plants.
SolarWorld has 250 employees at its solar-module manufacturing plant and America’s headquarters in Camarillo, Calif. The company employs 1,000 workers at its 100-acre campus in Hillsboro, Ore., where solar wafers and cells are made.
“Working with Ex-Im Bank has been a very positive experience for SolarWorld because of their willingness to help true U.S. manufacturers export product,” said Raju Yenamandra, vice president of sales and business development for SolarWorld Americas. “In a competitive world, this has given us a real advantage in exporting to attractive markets like India.”