Ex-Im Bank finances $103 million in Indian solar projects to close FY 2011

Ex-Im Bank finances $103 million in Indian solar projects to close FY 2011The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) recently announced that it awarded $103.2 million in loans for two more photovoltaic projects being developed in India using PV modules from U.S.-based companies. In all, the bank financed $176.4 million in Indian PV projects in fiscal year (FY) 2011, which ended Sept. 30.

The two projects were announced Friday, Nov. 4. The bulk, an $84.3 million direct loan to Dahanu Solar Power Pvt. Ltd., was approved in late August. That loan will support Dahanu’s purchase of 40 megawatts of First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) PV modules as well as U.S. exports that support the project’s construction. The plant will be located in the state of Rajasthan, India.

The other, $18.9 million, direct loan to Tatith Energies was approved Sept. 30. It will support the purchase of 5 megawatts of SolarWorld’s crystalline PV. It will also support construction services from American Capital Energy. That project will be in the state of Gujarat, India.

The bank has been increasing the number of solar projects it supports internationally.

“We’ve done six in India this year,” said Ex-Im spokesperson Linda Formella. “We’re certainly interested in the solar field.”

Earlier this year it loaned $30 million ACME Solar Technology (Gujarat) Pvt. Ltd. of India, for 10 megawatts of Infinia’s PowerDish solar-thermal devices for a project in Rajasthan. At the same time it made a $19 million loan guarantee to Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank for a 15-megawatt First Solar project in Gujarat.

Then it issued a $16 million loan to First Solar for another 50-megawatt project near New Dehli and a $9 million loan to Abound Solar for a 50-megawatt project near Jodhupur.

“Most of the projects we’ve done in India are 18-year term [loans],” said Formella. “The reason for that is the amount of time it takes the projects to generate payment.”

In all, 2011 was a record year for the Ex-Im Bank, in terms of supporting exports from the U.S. The federally chartered bank said it issued more that $32 billion in financing to support 290,000 U.S. jobs. While the solar awards to India comprise just a small part of the overall financing the bank issued. The bank is likely to support such projects in the future as well.