Etrion: 138 MW in development in Chile, Japan


Swiss solar power producer Etrion, the company behind the recently completed 70 MW Salvador solar park in Chile, posted annual revenue of $49.6 million from 17 solar power plants in Italy.

The company’s net loss for the year rose to $16.5 million from $10.3 million in 2013.

Etrion attributed the net loss to financing costs, lower solar irradiation and a decrease in the spot market price in Italy compared to 2013. Non-recurring operating and general and administrative expenses of some $800,000 as well as finance costs of $1 million associated with the early redemption of €60 million in corporate bonds also affected the company’s bottom line.

The Geneva-based group reported a gross profit of $25.8 million, up about $400,000 from the previous year, and an adjusted operating cash flow of $31.5 million.

Despite the higher net loss, Etrion CEO Marco A. Northland offered an upbeat assessment. Describing 2014 as “another transformational year” for the company, Northland said the group reached several milestones in Chile and Japan. “Etrion today has 130 MW of solar parks operational in Italy and Chile plus 34 MW under construction in Japan.”

Etrion also has advanced-stage solar projects in development in Chile and Japan that will likely begin construction this year, Northland said, adding that the company was also eyeing expansion possibilities in new markets.

Etrion is increasing its annual energy production from around 100 million kilowatt hours in 2014 to nearly 300 million kilowatt hours this year.

Etrion owns 70% of the 70 MW Salvador solar park in northern Chile, which the company said was completed five months ahead of schedule and under budget. Etrion tapped SunPower to build the solar park, which was connected to the grid in November.

Project Salvador produced approximately 6.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity during the testing phase in 2014 and became fully operational in January. The solar park is expected to produce more than 200 million kilowatt hours a year.

In Japan, Etrion began construction of its 87%-owned 34 MW solar parks in Japan in partnership with Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation (HHT), which is building the 9.3 MW Mito and the 24.7 MW Shizukuishi power plants. Mito includes five sites that are expected to connect to the grid between May and August 2015. Shizukuishi includes one site that is expected to connect to the grid in July 2016.

Etrion secured $82 million in long-term, non-recourse project financing in September for the Japanese projects, including 80% of the construction costs for both the Mito and Shizukuishi plants, from Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.

Projects in the pipeline

The group also has four solar projects in Chile in advanced development with a combined capacity of 99 MW, most of which are shovel-ready with construction planned immediately following the signing of the related power purchase agreement. In addition, Etrion began development of two new sites in Japan of 14 MW and 25 MW, both with the confirmed feed-in-tariffs, that are expected to be shovel-ready by early next year.

In Italy, Etrion managed to renegotiate operating and maintenance agreements with SunPower for three of its Italian subsidiaries, Cassiopea, Centauro and SVE, representing a combined capacity of 35.8 MW. The new agreement, which goes into effect in June, will increase the level of service and reduce costs by some 40%.

Etrion’s 100%-owned 60 MW portfolio comprising 17 solar power plants in Italy produced 100.7 million kilowatt hours last year (compared to 104.9 million kWh in 2013.