WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has approved a total of $61 million in long-term financing to support exports of photovoltaic (PV) solar modules by SolarWorld Industries America to Gochang Solar Park Co. Ltd. of Seoul, Korea. The exports were used in five solar power-generation projects and helped to sustain jobs at the company's manufacturing plants in Camarillo, Calif., and Hillsboro, Ore.
The five separate Ex-Im Bank loan guarantees are supporting loans provided by the Private Export Funding Corp. (PEFCO). Ex-Im Bank's financing also covers $10.2 million of local costs for installation. The repayment term for each of the loans is 13.5 years.
All five solar-energy projects, completed and in operation since September 2008, are located on a 97-acre site near the city of Gochang in southwestern Korea. The projects collectively are generating and transmitting 15 megawatts of renewable energy per hour that is sold to the Korean electric utility company, Korea Electric Power Corp., for its grid under a 15-year agreement that includes a subsidized feed-in tariff program from the Korean government.
The transactions were originally financed in the Korean market to expedite the construction of the projects and ensure completion by the deadline to receive a favorable subsidized feed-in tariff rate. The initial Korean financing has been converted to Ex-Im Bank's long-term loan guarantees.
"Ex-Im Bank is pleased to support Solarworld USA's exports for these projects because we want to help advance the competitiveness of U.S. exporters and support jobs in the United States. Ex-Im Bank's long-term financing at economically viable interest rates ensures the sustainability of these projects in this important sector in Korea, which actively supports the development of renewable-energy sources," said Ex-Im Bank Vice Chair Linda Conlin, the board member who leads the Bank's Environmental Exports Initiative.
"Ex-Im Bank's financing for these five large projects in the fast-growing Korean market is especially helpful in the global credit crunch that we are experiencing," said Raju Yenumandra, vice president of Sales and Marketing, SolarWorld Industries America. "These projects supported green manufacturing jobs in California and Oregon and have helped us to expand our U.S. production capacity and hire more American workers."
SolarWorld Industries America (also known as SolarWorld USA) is a subsidiary of SolarWorld AG, one of the world's largest solar-energy companies. The company has approximately 600 U.S. employees at its PV-module manufacturing plant in Camarillo, Calif., and its silicon-wafer production facilities in Hillsboro, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash.
Financing for the five projects was arranged by TSI Renewable Ventures (TSI-RV) of Pasadena, Calif., a developer of renewable-energy, grid-connected power facilities. "Our company is involved in developing and financing renewable-energy projects around the world. In all cases, financing is critical for the development of these projects overseas. Ex-Im Bank has provided a tremendous boost to this industry by helping to finance these solar projects in Korea," said TSI-RV CEO and President Michael W. Stoddard.
The projects were eligible for longer repayment terms under an agreement of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that permits OECD export-credit agencies such as Ex-Im Bank to offer up to 15-year terms to support exports to be used in to renewable-energy and water projects.
In addition, Ex-Im Bank's Environmental Exports Program also offers capitalized interest during construction and automatic availability of up to 30 percent of local-cost financing.
Exporters and others interested in learning more about Ex-Im Bank's support for renewable-energy and clean-technology exports are invited to attend the Bank's annual conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., on April 16-17. A special workshop, "Clean Technology Finance: Your Key to Global Growth" will be presented on Thursday, April 16, at 10:45 a.m. The workshop will be moderated by Craig O'Connor, director of Ex-Im Bank's Office of Renewable Energy and Environmental Exports, and feature a case study of the Gochang Solar Park financing by TSI-RV CEO and President Michael Stoddard. To register for the conference, visit http://www.exim.gov/news/annualconf/2009/index.cfm.
Ex-Im Bank created its Office of Renewable Energy and Environmental Exports in 2007 to conduct proactive outreach to U.S. exporters of renewable-energy technologies and other environment-focused products and services. The Bank's Environmental Exports Program has supported more than $3 billion of U.S. environmentally beneficial exports since its inception in 1994.
In fiscal year 2008, Ex-Im Bank authorized $14.4 billion in financing to support an estimated $19.6 billion of U.S. exports worldwide. The Bank authorized $227 million, including more than $30 million for renewable-energy exports, to support an estimated $434 million of U.S. exports of environmentally beneficial goods and services.
Ex-Im Bank is the official export-credit agency of the United States. The independent, self-sustaining federal agency, now in its 75th year, helps to create and maintain U.S. jobs by financing the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets throughout the world, by providing loan guarantees, export-credit insurance and direct loans. For more information, visit www.exim.gov.