US Ex-Im Bank hits $500 million in Indian solar loans

19. July 2011 | Applications & Installations, Global PV markets, Top News | By:  Jonathan Gifford

The Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) of the United States has announced two new loans for Indian photovoltaic projects totaling $25 million. This is in addition to $75 million in solar transactions in the financial year 2011 through June 30, brings the total of Indian solar transactions to $500 million, worth 315 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity.

An Indian train crossing.

Indian solar projects benefit from Ex-Im Bank funding as will US manufacturers First Solar and Abound Solar. Image: Flickr/repidemiks.

Confirming both America’s commitment to deepening economic ties with India and also the priority given to renewable projects, the Ex-Im Bank hopes to promote both the bank’s financial products but also facilitate the purchase of U.S. goods and services.

Two projects worth 10 MW receive loans

The two most recent Ex-Im Bank loans are in the form of a $16 million loan to Azure Power Rajasthan, to purchase thin-film modules from First Solar; and also $9.2 million to Punj Lloyd Solar Power, for solar modules from Abound Solar. Both projects have an installed capacity of five MW.

The Azure photovoltaic plant is one of the first utility scale plants under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM). Ex-Im Bank is the first international financial institution to approve solar projects under the mission. First Solar’s James Brown said that financing is a crucial part of any solar project and will allow for the purchase of its modules. "Collaborating with Ex-Im Bank accelerates renewable-energy deployment, allowing our customers to meet the growing demand for clean, renewable solar energy in India."

Last week it became clear that many of the solar projects submitted under the JNNSM had not secured finance and therefore will be cancelled.

This is not the case for the Punj Lloyd Power Project which will receive a $9.2 million Ex-Im Bank loan. The project, based in the state of Rajasthan, will be situated on a 62.5 acre site. Atul Punj, chairman of the Punj Lloyd Group said, "We are extremely proud to have U.S. Ex-Im Bank's support to achieve the financial closure for our project."

Ex-Im Bank Chairman in India

Ex-Im Bank Chairman Fred P. Hochberg is currently in India, where the recent announcements were made, and he highlighted the potential of the Indian market for U.S. solar industry exports. "There are tremendous opportunities for investments in projects that create jobs and help address India’s growing energy and infrastructure needs."

Energy infrastructure is also on the agenda of discussions between the Ex-Im Bank and Indian officials and Hochberg will meet representatives from India’s Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation in Mumbai. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is also in India for strategic dialogue discussions.

While in Mumbai, Hochberg will also discuss a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed last November with Reliance Power, for a $5 billion deal to facilitate, in part, the purchase equipment to produce 900 MW if clean energy.

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