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PowerLight Corporation to Export Solar Power Project to Korea with Help from 15-Year Ex-Im Bank Financing


Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Linda Formella (202) 565-3200

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- PowerLight Corporation of Berkeley, Calif.a leading global provider of solar power systems, will export equipment and services for the development and deployment of a 1-megawatt (MW) solar power project in Gwangju, Korea, thanks to a 15-year, $7.8 million medium-term loan guarantee from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank). PowerLight Corporation is the first U.S. exporter to benefit from the new 15-year repayment terms available from Ex-Im Bank to support U.S. exports to renewable energy, water and hydroelectric power projects. The guaranteed lender is City National Bank of Los Angeles.

The privately owned project located at the Kim Dae Jung Exhibition and Convention Center is the first solar power project of 1 MW or larger in Gwangju, located approximately 200 miles south of Seoul. PowerLight Corporation will design, develop, deploy and maintain the solar power plant, a Power TrackerTM system mounted over a parking facility at the convention center. The Power TrackerTM solar power system automatically follows the path of the sun throughout the day to maximize the panels' energy generation, providing substantially more power than a fixed-tilt system.

This image is an artist's depiction of PowerLight Corporation's solar power project to be built in Gwangju, Korea. The project is being financed by a 15-year Ex-Im Bank-backed loan guarantee from City National Bank in Los Angeles.

The borrower, S&P Corporation of Gwangju, Korea, will own and operate the project. The energy produced by the project will be sold to Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) at a price set by Korea's Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy for 15 years following the project commissioning. The transaction is an Ex-Im Bank structured finance credit, which is customized to address the specific issues of a smaller environmental project but entails lower transaction costs than traditional project finance.

Ex-Im Bank's ability to guarantee a 15-year loan enabled PowerLight Corporation to win this important contract because the extended repayment term was necessary to make the project commercially viable, said Ex-Im Bank Board Member Linda Conlin, who heads Ex-Im Bank's Environmental Exports Program. We believe that these extended terms will enable PowerLight and many U.S. environmental exporters to be competitive in smaller renewable energy and other environmentally beneficial projects in international markets and support U.S. jobs in these high-tech industries.

Ex-Im Bank's loan guarantee was instrumental in helping PowerLight to get this important international project properly financed. Their outstanding 15-year repayment term, coupled with an attractive interest rate, helped ensure a successful export sale for PowerLight and a worthwhile project for our customer, S&P Corporation, said PowerLight Executive Vice President Howard Wenger. We look forward to working on additional projects financed by Ex-Im Bank.

Ex-Im Bank is offering repayment terms of up to 15 years for U.S. exports for the following renewable energy projects: wind, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, geothermal, ocean thermal, tidal and tidal stream power, wave power, and bio-energy. Also eligible for the 15-year term are U.S. exports for water and waste water projects, and hydroelectric power projects.

The longer repayment terms are available in accord with an agreement of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that permits export credit agencies of OECD countries to offer enhanced terms for renewable energy and water projects. The OECD agreement permits the 15-year term for renewable energy and water-related projects for a two-year trial period that began July 1, 2005, and the 15-year term for hydropower projects for a two-year trial period that began December 1, 2005.

PowerLight Corporation is a leading global provider of large-scale solar power systems, delivering unmatched experience and proven financial performance to commercial, public sector and residential customers. PowerLight designs, deploys and operates the largest solar power systems in the world, including Bavaria Solarpark, the world's largest photovoltaic power project in Bavaria, Germany. For the Bavaria Solarpark project, Ex-Im Bank guaranteed a $5 million working capital line of credit to PowerLight from another California lending institution. For more information on PowerLight, visit www.powerlight.com.

Ex-Im Bank, the official export credit agency of the United States, is in its 72nd year of helping finance the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets throughout the world, by providing loan guarantees, export credit insurance and direct loans. In fiscal year 2005, Ex-Im Bank authorized $14 billion in transactions supporting almost $17.9 billion of U.S. exports to markets worldwide. For more information, visit www.exim.gov.