Loans Drive U.S. Solar Exports To India

There’s money to be made solarizing India, and the Export-Import Bank of the United States wants to make sure American companies are getting a piece of the action. So before the 2011 fiscal year closed at the end of September, the bank approved $103.2 million in financing for two solar deals in India – and that came on top of deals for four earlier Indian projects worth $73.2 million. Three U.S. companies in particular will get work from the newly financed transactions: First Solar, SolarWorld and American Capital Energy.

The bank said an $84.3 million direct loan to Dahanu Solar Power will support the purchase of thin-film solar panels from Arizona-based First Solar, as well as other U.S. exporters, for a 40-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) plant in Rajasthan state. Meanwhile, an $18.9 million direct loan to Tatith Energies means construction-services work to Massachusetts-based American Capital Energy, and crystalline silicon solar module sales for SolarWorld, a subsidiary of SolarWorld AG with U.S. headquarters in Oregon, for a 5-MW project in the state of Gujarat.

image via First Solar

The Ex-Im Bank said Indian banks were beginning to finance solar deals under a couple of different national initiatives, but that “support was needed due to a general lack of available long-term financing at commercially feasible terms.”

“India is making a big push for renewable energy,” Ex-Im Bank Chairman Fred P. Hochberg said in a statement. “Solar companies in the United States know that if they can get into this growing market, they have a bright future ahead of them. Ex-Im Bank stands ready to help our exporters win that future.”

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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