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Bank provides €500m for solar PV projects in Europe

A new financing structure for solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in France and Italy will receive financial assistance from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The EIB will fund €500 million to EDF Energies Nouvelles (EDF EN), which represents 50% of the total financing for solar PV projects located in the two countries over the next two years. The financing framework agreement states that each solar PV project will be implemented jointly with several commercial banks, and each financing allocation will be independent of the others.

The solar PV projects are currently under development or under construction, and will all use thin-film solar PV technology created by First Solar of the United States. Two ground-mounted pilot projects, the 36 MW Gabardan solar facility in France and the 13 MW Loreo solar farm in Italy, will be financed under this agreement early next year.

The financing structure to be implemented will be replicated for each subsequent investment carried out under this programme. Officials say the mechanism will simplify the implementation of other solar projects, as and when their construction starts.

“The support that we are providing to EDF Energies Nouvelles' projects fits perfectly with the framework of the national and European policies in support of renewable energies, and will help to meet the targets of combating global warming and promoting energy independence, while contributing to the development of innovative technologies,” explains Philippe de Fontaine Vive of the EIB.

“We are convinced that R&D and investment in innovative and sustainable projects, in all strategic sectors including energy to stop climate change, are essential to economic revival and growth in our countries.”

“We are very happy with this innovative financing solution put together with the EIB that has been made possible by the volume of our projects' portfolio,” adds Paris Mouratoglou of EDF EN.

“Perfectly suited to photovoltaic projects, which have a smaller average unit size than in wind energy, this financing structure will help EDF EN to step up the pace of completion of its numerous projects under development in France and Italy and will facilitate achievement of our ambitious objectives.”

The EIB is the long-term lending bank of the European Union. Every year it grants €45-50 billion to projects located in the European Union, of which sustainable forms of energy receive €10bn, including 20% for the development of renewable energy.

The EIB says financing for renewable energy rose from €500m in 2006 to €2.2bn in 2008, and will reach €3bn in 2009 according to current estimates.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity