US solar power firm SunPower Corporation has sold €195.2 million ($258.4 million) of bonds linked to a solar farm in Italy, which are understood to be the first such bonds of their kind.
The proceeds will be used to refinance the final two 44MW phases of the company’s Montalto di Castro solar park, which is now complete.
The 18-year fixed rate bonds were issued in two €97.6 million tranches, with the first rated Aa2 by Moody’s, and paying 5.715%, with the second tranche rated Baa3 and paying 4.839%.
“This is the world's first publicly rated bond issue for a solar project, as well as Italy's first rated project bond. It opens up a new global-scale pool of capital to fund solar projects beyond traditional project financing from banks,” said Dennis Arriola, SunPower’s chief financial officer. “Achieving investment grade ratings is a milestone for the solar sector.”
The first tranche was bought by institutional investors, and the second in whole by the European Investment Bank.
The lead managers were BNP Paribas and Société Générale.
San Jose, California-based SunPower, which manufactures solar energy systems, also said that it expected to sell the final two phases of the solar farm by the end of this year. These two phases bring the total size of the project to 72MW.
By. Mark Nicholls
Source: Environmental Finance