SunEdison begins construction on 110 MW Chile solar plant

U.S. renewable energy developer SunEdison has announced today that it has broken ground on a 110 MW solar PV plant in Chile have closed financing of $160 million in non-recourse debt for the plant.

Located near the Chilean capital of Santiago, the 110 MW Quilapilun solar plant is SunEdison’s first power plant in the region and will become one of Chile’s largest once completed.

Financing for the project was arranged via a $160 million long-term, non-recourse debt arrangement with Chile’s largest commercial bank, CorpBanca, as well as Norway’s largest financial services group DNB.

The monies will be used for the development, construction and operation of the project, and once completed and interconnected SunEdison will sell the plant to its subsidiary, yieldco vehicle TerraForm Power in early 2016.

Solar energy produced by the plant will be sold to the regulated market via long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with local utilities. SunEdison was awarded the contract to supply the Sistema Interconectado Central (SIC) by Chile’s National Energy Commission late last year.

"This project is our first solar plant in the Metropolitan Region, and further advances our position as a renewable energy leader in Chile," said SunEdison VP for Latin America, Carlos Barrera. "Solar energy has become cost-competitive with other energy generation sources in the country. With solar, we are able to supply regulated market consumers with clean energy at lower prices than they pay now."

The financial support that was forthcoming from the two lending institutions was key in allowing SunEdison to break ground, on schedule, on the project.

"CorpBanca is highly interested in supporting SunEdison, one of the most dynamic renewable energy companies in Chile," said CorpBanca head of corporate banking Rodrigo Oyarzo. "For more than two years CorpBanca has been leading the Chilean banking industry, providing financial services and innovative financing structures in the energy sector."

Committed to the Call Right Project List for yieldco TerraForm Power, the Quilapilun solar plant – which will eliminate the emission of more than 125,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year – will be acquired by the company once completed in Q1 2016.

"Today’s announcement underscores the important role our call rights with SunEdison play on TerraForm Power’s growth strategy," said TerraForm Power CEO Carlos Domenech. "This solar project more than doubles our footprint in the fast-growing Chilean solar market and provides significant value to our shareholders."