EIB provides solar funding

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is to provide EDF Energies Nouvelles with €500m (£443m) to help the company develop solar photovoltaic projects in France and Italy between 2010 and 2012.

The projects, which are under development or under construction, will all be equipped with thin-film photovoltaic technology from US company First Solar.

The EIB’s contribution represents up to 50 per cent of the cost of each project. The rest of the funding will come from several commercial banks.

Two pilot projects — the Gabardan ground-based solar farm in France (three 12MWp tranches, Landes) and the Loreo ground-based solar farm in Italy (12.5MWp, Veneto) — will be financed in early 2010.

Pâris Mouratoglou, chairman of the board of directors of EDF Energies Nouvelles, said: ‘The financing structure will help EDF Energies Nouvelles to step up the pace of completion of its numerous projects under development in France and Italy.’

Earlier this year, EDF Energies Nouvelles and First Solar announced a venture to build France’s largest solar-panel manufacturing plant. With an initial annual capacity of more than 100MWp, the plant will produce solar panels made with First Solar’s photovoltaic technology.

EDF Energies Nouvelles has agreed to finance half of the capital expense and plant start-up costs and will benefit from the plant’s entire output for the first 10 years.