JOHANNESBURG and BELMONT, Calif., Nov. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- SunEdison, a leading worldwide solar energy services provider and subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials (NYSE: WFR), in partnership with Chint Solar, the Public Investment Corporation, and the Kurisani Youth Development Trust, today announced that it has closed US$314 million (R2.6 Billion) in long-term debt and equity financing for two utility solar projects in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Standard Bank and Futuregrowth Asset Management are the two senior debt providers supporting both projects.
The two projects total 58 megawatts MW (AC). Witkop Solar Park (30 MW AC) and Soutpan Solar Park (28 MW AC) will be the first utility scale solar projects to be implemented in Limpopo Province. Under the terms of the financing agreement, power generated from the two facilities will be purchased by Eskom, the national utility in South Africa, through a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA). The Soutpan Solar Park is expected to interconnect in January of 2014, while the Witkop Solar Park is forecast to interconnect in April of 2014. Construction of both projects is expected to begin in January of 2013.
Prior to committing to the projects in South Africa, SunEdison performed extensive tests and models to determine the optimal design and projected output of the facilities. Once the projects are operational, they will be monitored around the clock by SunEdison's fleet-wide Renewable Operations Center (ROC). The ROC will leverage the SunEdison Environmental & Energy Data System (SEEDS) to help maximize the efficiency of the facility by tracking its actual performance against its predicted output.
"As a world leader in renewable energy, we understand our projects have a transformational impact on the lives of millions of people. We are delighted that our investments in South Africa will create employment and stimulate business investment," said Pashupathy Gopalan, SunEdison Vice President and Managing Director for South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. "The energy delivered by these projects will sustain economic growth bringing both social and fiscal benefits. We are committed to this region and will continue to build our local team moving forward."
Chint Solar is a member of the Chint Group, which manufactures low-voltage electrical products, as well as solutions for transmission and distribution, instruments and meters, industry automation and solar energy, and specialised products for the construction sectors. Dr. Chuan Lu, the Vice President of Chint Solar, said the projects would help to demonstrate the potential of solar power to create jobs and stabilise the electricity supply. "South Africa has higher solar irradiance than other countries which have invested heavily in solar power, such as Germany. Chint Solar has been continuously keeping its commitment to developing solar energy around the world. We are confident that in the years to come, more solar energy projects will be announced, furthering energy security in the region," Dr. Lu commented.
The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) is one of Africa's largest investment managers, with assets under management of over US$130 billion (R1.17 trillion). "The Public Investment Corporation always seeks to invest in projects that aim to achieve the Government Employee Pension Fund's dual objective of investing for financial return and for positive social, economic, and environmental results," said Dr. Dan Matjila, the PIC's Chief Investment Officer. "PIC is passionate about environmental sustainability and contributing towards cleaner energy and a greener economy, hence we saw value in this investment. Over and above that, PIC is pleased that this investment will contribute immensely to job creation, particularly in Limpopo. The project is expected to create 318 jobs during construction, and 55 jobs on an on-going basis, with 44 of those designated for historically disadvantaged individuals. This investment will stimulate much-needed economic activity, thus directly contributing to the country's economic development agenda."
Standard Bank, Africa's largest bank by assets, has extensive experience in financing renewable energy projects. Ziyaad Sarang, Executive, Mining Energy and Infrastructure at Standard Bank said: "We are delighted with Standard Bank's involvement as the Mandated Lead Arranger in these deals, which sees SunEdison, the Chint Group and PIC making investments into South Africa in renewable energy. This transaction goes to the heart of Standard Bank's core strategy of encouraging investment in power and infrastructure development in our home market, Africa, and serves to highlight our commitment to the continued development of clean energy projects."
Futuregrowth Asset Management, a subsidiary of Old Mutual, oversees US$13.3 billion (R115 billion) in fixed-income investments. Futuregrowth portfolio manager Mei-Chi Liou said that the firm is excited about investing in the renewable energy sector because it will provide South Africa with a sustainable energy source while offering pension funds access to a new asset class with good returns. "We applaud the efforts of government and other involved parties to ensure the economic benefits are spread as widely as possible within a sound legal framework. We are particularly delighted to partner with SunEdison and the Chint Group, in a mutually beneficial relationship that will bring upliftment to the area."
SunEdison is a global provider of solar-energy services. The company develops finances, installs and operates distributed power plants using proven photovoltaic technologies, delivering fully managed, and predictably priced solar energy services for its commercial, government and utility customers. In 2011 SunEdison interconnected approximately 300 Megawatts of solar throughout the world. For more information about SunEdison, please visit http://www.sunedison.com
MEMC is a global leader in semiconductor and solar technology. MEMC has been a pioneer in the design and development of silicon wafer technologies for over 50 years. With R&D and manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, MEMC enables the next generation of high performance semiconductor devices and solar cells. Through its SunEdison subsidiary, MEMC is also a developer of solar power projects and a worldwide leader in solar energy services. MEMC's common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "WFR." For more information about MEMC, please visit www.memc.com.
About Chint Solar
Chint Solar specializes in cutting-edge research, development and production of solar modules. The Company has been a trusted provider of PV modules since its founding in 2006 and it is fully engaged in Solar Energy Development globally. With support from its parent company Chint Group, Chint Solar has become a global total solutions provider for photovoltaic systems.
For more information, please visit: www.astronergy.com
About the Public Investment Corporation
The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) is a public asset management firm wholly owned by the South African government, with the Minister of Finance as the sole shareholder representative of the government.
PIC's clients are mostly public sector entities including the Government Employees Pension Fund, which contribute 90% of the funds that PIC manages. Other clients include Unemployment Insurance Fund, Associated Institutions Pension Fund, Compensation Commissioner Pension Fund and Compensation Commissioner Fund.
The PIC owns shares in listed companies and currently controls over 10% of the Johannesburg Securities Exchange. The PIC is a hybrid of a single asset manager and a multi-manager with emphasis on providing its clients with value at a low cost and invests in established names with strong management requiring little oversight.
The PIC is a world class asset management company, and has been in existence for more than a century. It is the largest and most successful asset manager on the African continent with assets under management in excess of R1 trillion.
About Standard Bank South Africa
Standard Bank South Africa is the largest operating entity of Standard Bank Group, Africa's largest bank by assets. Standard Bank Group had total assets of about US$185 billion (over R1 497-billion) at 31 December 2011. Standard Bank's market capitalisation at 31 December 2011 was approximately US $19 billion (R157 billion).
In South Africa, Standard Bank provides the full spectrum of financial services. Its Corporate and Investment Banking division serves a wide range of requirements for banking, finance, trading, investment, risk management and advisory services. Corporate and Investment Banking division delivers this comprehensive range of products and services relating to: investment banking; global markets; global transactional products and services; and private equity.
Futuregrowth is a specialist investment company which actively manages fixed interest related investment strategies in a way that sustainably enriches the lives of our stakeholders.
Managing assets of around R120 billion, Futuregrowth has developed one of the largest and most experienced teams of investment professionals in the fixed interest space. The team's specialist skills set, particularly credit analysis, duration and yield positioning, allows for better risk management and the ability to deliver value to client portfolios.
With our vision of enriching lives, the company continually strives to identify opportunities that will deliver economic and social returns that really matter.
Futuregrowth is a separately operating asset management company under Old Mutual Investment Group (SA) (OMIGSA).
Certain matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements, including that the Soutpan Solar Park is expected to interconnect in January of 2014, while the Witkop Solar Park is forecast to interconnect in April of 2014, and that construction of both projects is expected to begin in January of 2013. Such statements involve certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Potential risks and uncertainties include normal commissioning risks attendant to large scale solar projects, delays or interruptions in construction, deployment or activation; the timely availability of required permits and authorizations for projects from governmental entities and third parties; changes in applicable regulatory requirements and incentives for production of solar power; and general business and economic conditions, including seasonality of the industry, and other risks described in MEMC's filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements represent MEMC's judgment as of the date of this press release. MEMC disclaims, however, any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.