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First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) announced Thursday that it has received $290 million in loan to begin construction of the largest solar farm in Latin America. The new Luz del Norte solar plant will come up near the city of Copiapo in Chile’s Atacama Desert, the Tempe, Arizona-based company said. It will have the production capacity of 141 megawatts.
First Solar initially applied for the Luz del Norte licenses in July 2013
The Overseas Development Finance Corp. board has approved the loan of $230 million. First Solar will receive another $60 million from the International Finance Corp, part of the World Bank Group. Terms of the loan agreement were not disclosed. The largest U.S. PV panel maker expect to close the loans later this summer. This project has been on the company’s books for about a year. First Solar initially applied for the Luz del Norte licenses in July last year.
Power generated by this project would go to the Chilean Central Interconnected System. First Solar said the project was approved as part of Chile’s National Energy Strategy, which aims to increase the nation’s renewable energy to 20% of its total power generation by 2025. First Solar said that the Atacama Desert receives the steadiest concentration of direct sunlight on the planet, giving Luz del Norte the ideal conditions for power generation.
First Solar expanding aggressively in overseas markets
First Solar said Luz del Norte is first of the many projects it has in the regional development pipeline. The company already has worldwide installed capacity of 8 gigawatts. Earlier this month, First Solar won a project to build a 150MW solar farm near El Centro, California. However, the company’s U.S. business has suffered in the past few years as demand for large-scale solar project from utilities slowed. So, the company has been expanding aggressively in international markets.
First Solar generated $3.3 billion in revenues last year. Analysts expect its revenues to jump to $3.8 billion in 2014 and $4.04 billion in 2015. First Solar shares gained 1.84% Thursday to close at $71.47.