Citi Nears Close on 550 MW Desert Sunlight Project

by Terrence Murray - September 27, 2011

Citi and Goldman Sachs anticipate closing the financing of the 550 megawatts Desert Sunlight Solar Farm in next few days, possibly tomorrow.

The $1.8 billion financing supporting the construction of  the project, which NextEra Energy and GE Energy Financial Services recently acquired from First Solar, could close as early tomorrow, according to a Citi banker.

The project is backed by a Department of Energy Loan Guarantee and Citi and Goldman are awaiting for final approval from the DOE to close the financing. With the loan program officially ending on September 30th, Desert Sunlight is literally racing against the clock to secure this crucial financing. “If it does not close in the next few days it will never get done,” the banker said.  He.

First Solar got its hand on Desert Sunlight as part of  its $285 million acquisition of  Nextlight Renewable Power more than a year ago.

Approval of the project, would launch construction of  one of the world’s largest solar PV power plant. Once commercial Desert Sunlight will sell its output to Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison via two separate long-term Power Purchase Agreements.

The anticipated financing of the Desert Sunlight project comes at a time of turmoil for the solar sector brought on by the bankruptcy of Solyndra, which like Desert Sunlight received substancial DOE financing.

Also, last week First Solar was forced to walk away from its 550-megawatt Topaz project because it was unable to meet deadlines supporting its application for a $1.9 billion loan guarantee. The Tempe, Ariz. is now in talks with potential buyers to take over the project.

Leave a Reply