A Chilean solar plant has attracted debt finance to the tune of US$100.4mn.

The project finance facility has been extended to SunEdison by the IFC, Opic and Rabobank, for the construction of the 50.7MW San Andres plant in the Atacama region.

Once completed, the plant will be the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in Latin America and one of the largest in the world.
Juan Payeras, principal investment officer at the IFC, tells GTR that he “hopes that the successful structuring and closing of these projects will stimulate greater commercial bank participation”.

Opic has put up US$62.9mn of the debt, with the IFC taking a ticket of US$37.5mn. Rabobank, the only commercial lender on the transaction, is providing a tranche worth US$25.6mn, but disbursed in Chilean peso.

The finance comes on a non-recourse basis, with pricing and tenor remaining undisclosed. The total project cost is US$142mn and the remaining finance will be generated through equity.

Chile has seen significant investment in its energy sector in the past couple of years – both renewable and non-renewable.

In April, the coal-fired Cochrane plant reached financial close at US$1bn. The financing was led by Japanese institutions, with JBIC and K-Sure guaranteeing finance from a range of banks. This time last year, Enel of Italy agreed a €110mn loan with EKF, the Danish ECA, and Citi to build a wind farm in Chile.

Payeras says that with power shortages in the country common, renewable energy is expected to take up a bigger portion of the energy mix. “Chile’s renewable sector, while still comparatively modest at less than 7% of total generation, is growing rapidly and expected to account for 20% of total generation by 2025,” he explains.