Ohio-based First Solar Wins Contract Over Competition from China to Export Thin-Film Solar Panels to Distributed Solar-Energy Project in Central America, Deal Financed by BankProv Backed by EXIM Loan Guarantee
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 23, 2021
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WASHINGTON – The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) today gave the Deal of the Year award to First Solar in Perrysburg, Ohio, for the export sale of its thin-film solar panels to the Zacapa solar-energy project being built by Montreal-based Kruger Energy in Guatemala. The transaction was financed by BankProv in Amesbury, Massachusetts, and backed by an EXIM loan guarantee. EXIM’s financing helped First Solar to win the contract over solar-panel competitors from China. The award to First Solar was presented today during EXIM’s 2021 Annual Conference held virtually September 21-23.
For the transaction, EXIM approved an 18-year guarantee of a $8.7 million loan from BankProv to finance the export of First Solar’s U.S.-manufactured, thin-film solar panels to the Zacapa 9.5MW solar power project to supply power to a paper mill in Rio Hondo, Guatemala. The project is one of EXIM’s first transactions in support of distributed solar power, which can provide reliable, direct, on-site power and significant energy cost savings of solar compared to traditional energy sources.
“This project clearly demonstrates how EXIM Bank financing can make the critical difference in financing climate-beneficial investments abroad that support American jobs and economic growth,” said EXIM Renewable Energy Officer Craig O’Connor, who presented the award to First Solar today. “Working with our lending partners such as BankProv, EXIM can enable U.S. exporters of clean-energy products and services like First Solar to compete successfully for these projects against Chinese and other foreign competition.”
“EXIM financing can enable the clean-energy transition in emerging markets such as Guatemala, where First Solar’s innovative American solar technology is well-positioned to help power the expansion of renewable-energy projects. With EXIM’s competitive terms, we can support the global transition to a sustainable energy future with responsibly produced American clean-energy innovation,” said Karl Brutsaert, Vice President of First Solar, Americas.
“This financing advantage is a crucial factor in strengthening American competitiveness in sectors such as clean-energy technology that are dominated by companies subsidized by other nations such as China.”
The Zacapa solar project in Guatemala represents a new project for Kruger Energy, a leading developer, owner, and operator of renewable-energy power projects in North America. Without EXIM’s long-term tenor and financing of 30 percent of local costs, Kruger Energy would have selected lower-cost solar panels and balance-of-system equipment from Asia.
“BankProv is pleased to have worked with its valued partners at EXIM Bank, along with Kruger and First Solar, to deliver the cost-effective financing necessary to keep jobs in the United States, while enabling renewable-energy solutions abroad,” said BankProv President and Chief Lending Officer Chuck Withee.
First Solar is a leading American solar technology company and global provider of responsibly produced eco-efficient solar modules advancing the fight against climate change. Developed at R&D labs in California and Ohio, the company’s advanced thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules represent the next generation of solar technologies, providing a competitive, high-performance, lower-carbon alternative to conventional crystalline silicon PV panels. For more information, please visit www.firstsolar.com.
BankProv, legally operating as The Provident Bank, is a subsidiary of Provident Bancorp, Inc. BankProv is a future-ready commercial bank for corporate clients, specializing in offering adaptive and technology-first, international banking solutions to niche markets, including cryptocurrency, renewable energy, fin-tech and enterprise value lending with a focus on search fund loans. For more information, please visit bankprov.com.
The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) is the nation’s official export credit agency with the mission of supporting American jobs by facilitating U.S. exports. To advance American competitiveness and assist U.S. businesses as they compete for global sales, EXIM offers financing including export credit insurance, working capital guarantees, loan guarantees, and direct loans. As an independent federal agency, EXIM contributes to U.S. economic growth by supporting tens of thousands of jobs in exporting businesses and their supply chains across the United States. Since 1992, EXIM has generated more than $9 billion for the U.S. Treasury for repayment of U.S. debt. Learn more at www.exim.gov.