Bank debt in place for Mexican solar project being built by Sinohydro

Project's US$280 million debt will be provided by three firms while construction is set to begin this year with more than one million solar panels expected to be installed

Bank debt has been put in place for the 375 MWp (peak) El Llano Photo Voltaic project in Mexico, which is being built by Sinohydro together with Spanish company Novamper. 

El Llano is being developed by French renewables company Neoen and is the largest in the company’s asset portfolio. It will wholly own the facility. Natixis, Societe Generale and Mexican development bank Bancomext will provide the project’s US$280 million senior debt.

In March it was announced that Sinohydro, a subsidiary of Power Construction Corporation of China, and Novamper, a subsidiary of Spanish company Prodiel Proyectos de Instalaciones Electricas, had won the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) turnkey contract.

They will be responsible for the construction of the PV plant and its associated substations and power lines. In addition, the consortium will provide operations and maintenance (O&M) services throughout the first 20 years of the solar farm’s life cycle.

Construction is set to begin this year, with more than one million solar panels expected to be installed at the 800-hectare site.

The plant will use more than a million monocrystalline PV panels, supplied in two equal lots from Xian, China-based LONGi and Seoul, South Korea-based Hanwha Q Cells, combined with trackers from Soltec.

El Llano was one of the winners of the third Mexican public renewable energy auction in November 2017. The El Llano solar farm will commence operations in 2020. Once online, it will be capable of generating 880.5 GWh per year, which will be enough to meet the annual consumption of 441,000 Mexican households

It is located 20 kilometres east of the town of Aguascalientes in the state of the same name, central Mexico.

The plant will be connected directly to Comisión Federal de Electricidad’s (CFE) high-voltage network. With a contract to sell the electricity produced at less than US$19/MWh, it is one of the most competitive solar projects in the world.

El Llano will sell around 70% of the electricity produced at a fixed, indexed price of US$18.93/MWh (price corresponding to electricity plus green energy certificates) to a consortium consisting of CFE SSB (a public body), Iberdrola Clientes (a utility company) and Menkent (a subsidiary of cement-maker Cemex).

The purchasing contract will last 15 years for electricity and 20 years for the associated clean energy certificates. The remainder of the electricity will be sold on the Mexican electricity market.

Neoen is one of France’s major independent producers of renewable energy and one of the fastest growing renewables companies worldwide.

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