SunEdison, a worldwide solar energy services provider and subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE: WFR), announced it has completed a euro 155 million non-recourse debt financing arrangement with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and UniCredit Group for SunEdison's 60.4MWp solar power plant in Bulgaria. SunEdison expects to complete the sale of the equity of this power plant in 2012.
IFC provided euro 46.1 million and mobilized an additional euro 41.1 million from UniCredit through a syndication loan, while OPIC provided a $50 million parallel loan. UniCredit Bulbank acted as the Bulgarian local bank and provided a local currency VAT facility worth approximately euro 30 million (58,7 million Bulgarian lev). The total value of the debt for this transaction is approximately euro 155 million.
Construction of the 60.4 MWp / 50 MWac plant began in September 2011, and it was interconnected in March 2012. Located in Karadzhalovo - a village in the municipality of Parvomay, about 160 km southeast of the capital city Sofia - the project covers an area of 100 hectares (equivalent to 100 football fields) and uses more than 214,000 solar modules. In the first full year of operation, the system is expected to generate sufficient energy to power 27,000 homes and avoid 37,400 tons of CO2 – the equivalent of removing more than 7,000 cars from the road.
Commenting on the agreement, Pancho Perez, General Manager of SunEdison for Europe, Middle East, North Africa and Latin America said: "We are very pleased to collaborate with IFC, OPIC and UniCredit in this transaction. This project is a perfect example of how the combination of state-of-the-art technology and SunEdison's successful track record in the construction, operation and maintenance of solar power plants creates sound investment opportunities for our financing partners." He continued, "Our long-term commitment to solar projects and our relentless focus on energy production optimization are both key attributes that lead our financing partners to trust in SunEdison."
Tomasz Telma, IFC Director for Europe and Central Asia, said, "IFC's support for renewable energy is an important part of our work to address climate change. The investment in Karadzhalovo is our largest single solar financing to date and the fact that it was completed in just four months is a testament to the strong working relationship among the banks and SunEdison."
OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield said, "We are pleased to partner once again with SunEdison, as well as IFC and UniCredit, to support a solar solution for Bulgaria's growing demand for energy. These types of public-private collaborations – using development financing to leverage private sector investment in state-of-the-art technologies – point the way to ever-increasing use of renewable energy sources in developing regions around the world, a trend we are happy to support."
Gianni Franco Papa, Deputy CEO and Head of the CEE Division at UniCredit Bank Austria added, "We are proud of having contributed to the establishment of the SunEdison Karadzhalovo solar power plant, which was advanced with our comprehensive expertise in arranging complex loans. Together with SunEdison and global institutions IFC and OPIC, we put this very important project in renewable energy on a financially sound and competitive foundation."