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OPIC Board Approves Financing for Solar Plant in Chile

published: 2014-06-27 10:56

The Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), 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 PV park in Chile’s Atacama desert. This will be the largest PV project in Latin America once complete, producing 141 MW 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.”

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