First Solar & Juwi Secure Financing for 53-MW Solar Power Plant

First Solar Inc. and Juwi Holding AG have secured financing for a 53-megawatt (MW) thin-film solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant near the German city of Cottbus.

More than 80 percent of the required project capital is financed through non-recourse debt from a consortium of banks. First Solar and Juwi intend to sell the majority of the project after its completion. Construction of the project began in January 2009, and the first 15 MW have been completed. The remaining 38 MW are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2009.

The project is being constructed on 162 hectares of land that is part of the Soviet Army’s former 26,000 hectare Lieberose training area north of Cottbus in eastern Germany. Upon completion, the PV power plant will consist of approximately 700,000 modules and is projected to be the largest in Germany

The project’s low cost enables the required return to fund an attractive land lease for the State of Brandenburg. The lease, in turn, finances the environmental cleanup of the former military zone, which is littered with land mines, grenades and other munitions.

Matthias Platzeck, minister president of the German state government of Brandenburg, where Lieberose is located, said the project is a model for the conversion of former military land to productive use.

“This kind of project helps us heal the scars of the Cold War and meet our ambitious targets for renewable energy production at the same time,” he said.

This is more in series of good news for First Solar. The company recently reached a deal with Sempa Energy to expand the 10-MW El Dorado solar facility in Nevada by 48 MW. The company also closed on the US $400 million aquisition of Optisolar’s project pipeline.

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