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EX-IM BANK APPROVES FINANCING FOR B.P. SOLAR EXPORTS TO POWER RURAL PROVINCE IN ARGENTINA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 24, 2001

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Linda Formella (202) 565-3200

BP Solar in Linthicum Heights, Md., the world's leading solar electric company, is exporting solar energy equipment to rural Argentina with the help of a $753,090 medium-term loan that is guaranteed by the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank). The financing will enable BP Solar to sell 1,500 photovoltaic energy panel systems to Empresa Jujena de Sistemas Energeticos Dispersos, S.A. (EJSEDSA), a private utility that is responsible for supplying electricity to rural areas of Jujuy province. The transaction will provide financing for the purchase of units for individual homes and will be supplemented by a grant from the World Bank and the Global Environmental Facility to the government of Argentina. The loan is being provided by Allfirst Bank in Baltimore, Md.

The United States is a world leader in solar technology, and Ex-Im Bank is committed to working with the rest of the Bush Administration in support of U.S. renewable energy exports. This transaction is good for U.S. jobs and good for the environment. Ex-Im Bank's loan guarantee also will serve to leverage financing being provided by multinational sources, said Ex-Im Bank Board Member Dan Renberg, who heads the Bank's Environmental Exports Program.

BP Solar is pleased to be a part of this important step in bringing basic electricity to parts of Argentina with the help of Ex-Im Bank, said Harry Shimp, president and CEO of BP Solar. Through the years, BP has proven its leadership in providing rural infrastructure solutions and has seen how they can transform lives in developing countries. We see solar energy not only as the environmentally correct solution for these remote areas but also by far the most cost-effective.

BP Solar is a combination of the world's leading solar companies, BP Solar and Solarex. A full service company, BP Solar manufactures, designs, markets and installs a wide range of crystalline silicon and new generation thin film solar electric products and systems for residential, commercial and industrial applications. The company is headquartered near Baltimore, Md., and has U.S. manufacturing facilities in Maryland, Virginia and California.

Allfirst Bank is an active partner with Ex-Im Bank in providing medium-term financing, and we are dedicated to doing more transactions with American exporters of environmental technology because expanding foreign markets brings benefits to both the U.S. and developing economies, said David B. Cooke, senior vice president at Allfirst Bank.

EJSEDSA is subsidized by the Argentine government to distribute energy to the sparsely populated Puna Jujena region of Jujuy province where currently there are 50,000 residents without electricity. Solar panel units for individual homes is the most efficient and cost-effective method of delivering electricity to the region, which is heavily forested and unsuitable for land power lines.

Under Ex-Im Bank's Environmental Exports Program, the medium-term loan guarantee qualified for an enhanced repayment term of six years. A regular medium-term repayment period ranges from two to five years.

Ex-Im Bank created its Environmental Exports Program in 1994 to fulfill its congressional mandate to increase support for U.S. exports of environmentally beneficial goods and services. Since the program's inception, environmental transactions have grown from 13 in 1994 to 65 in 2000. Currently, Ex-Im Bank has a total environmental exports portfolio of more than $1.2 billion.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that provides loans, guarantees and insurance to help finance the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to developing markets around the world. In fiscal year 2000, Ex-Im Bank assisted in financing $15.5 billion of U.S. exports worldwide.