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2 May 2013

Soitec completes inaugural solar financing bond transaction in South Africa

Soitec of Bernin, France, which makes engineered substrates - including silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers and III-V epiwafers - as well as concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) solar systems, has finalised the ZAR 1,000,000,000 (more than $100m) solar financing bond issued by CPV Power Plant No.1 Bond SPV (RF) Ltd, an affiliate of Soitec Solar GmbH. 

The bonds will finance the construction of a 44 MWp utility-scale concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) solar power plant in Touwsrivier, South Africa. This is the first publicly-listed project bond ever issued to finance a solar power plant based on CPV technology, says the firm. In terms of financing solar energy projects, the bond is an inaugural transaction in South Africa and only the third such transaction worldwide.

A consortium comprised of Deloitte & Touche, The Standard Bank of South Africa, Trident Capital and Webber Wentzel Attorneys advised Soitec throughout the transaction, with the bank acting as lead manager, book runner and debt sponsor for the offering. Moody’s, the credit rating agency, confirmed the supportive investment grade rating of assigned to the Touwsrivier project.

“The bonds were placed with a diverse pool of South African institutional investors, pension funds and asset managers, all of whom welcomed the opportunity to participate in this inaugural offering,” said Kimon Boyiatjis, chief investment officer, Trident Capital.

“We are very pleased that Soitec has succeeded with this inaugural transaction. It opens an entirely new field of project funding to the solar industry in South Africa,” said Ompi Aphane, deputy director General Energy Policy and Planning of the Department of Energy. “We hope that this will contribute to the creation of a new pool of financial resources that can support the South African government’s ambitious plans for renewable energy.”

“Together with the selected equity investors for this project, we are well positioned to rapidly deploy the 44-MWp Touwsrivier project”, said Gaëtan Borgers executive vice president of Soitec Solar Division. "Group Five, our EPC partner, has already started construction and the first of more than 1500 high efficiency Soitec CPV systems will soon be erected on the project site. Scheduled for completion by June 2014, Touwsrivier will be the largest CPV plant in the western world."

André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé, CEO and founder of Soitec added “The market for utility-scale solar power plants is the fastest growing segment today. Leveraging our world-class manufacturing facilities, we will continue to execute our pipeline of over 440 MWp and to develop new opportunities in South Africa and other high irradiance countries.”

Tags: Soitec CPV


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