The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is facilitating the sale of solar panels from California to a private sector project in Belgium under the bank's "Renewable Express" project financing program.  The solar panels for the project will be supplied by Solyndra LLC, a manufacturer of photovoltaic systems headquartered in Fremont, California.

The Ex-Im Bank’s “Renewable Express” project financing program provides streamlined post-completion project financing to small renewable-power producers that meet the bank's credit standards.  The bank will consider project financing for small renewable power producers seeking loans of $3 million to $10 million. Renewable Express is available for both corporate balance sheet and limited-recourse transactions that fit within the program’s parameters and where the repayment is generated from the project’s cash flows.

Under most other programs, project financing is often unavailable for small transactions due to the high levels of
due diligence and advisory fees.  Under the "Renewable Express" program, the Ex-Im Bank employs a streamlined procedure to evaluate and underwrite the borrower’s credit.  Applications can be processed in as little as 60 days.

In the Solyndra project, the Ex-Im Bank is guaranteeing an 18-year euro 7.7 million loan (U.S. $10.3 million) provided by KBC Bank NV in Belgium to finance the sale of Solyndra's solar panels for a three-megawatt rooftop photovoltaic project. This is the company's first transaction with Ex-Im Bank and its largest rooftop solar project globally to date.

The solar panels are being used to provide energy for a distribution center of Delhaize, an international supermarket chain. The distribution center is in Zellik, a suburb of Brussels.

The Ex-Im Bank's guarantee is facilitating a longer loan term at a cost-effective interest rate that improved the project's commercial viability.  The Bank processed this "Renewable Express" transaction in just 41 days from the receipt of the completed application to approval.

Key qualifications and features of the "Renewable Express" program are:
  • Both direct loans and guarantees are available. For expedited treatment, the Ex-Im Bank tranche will be
  • the only debt financing.
  • Local cost financing of up to 30 percent of the net U.S. export contract is available.
  • Single take-out disbursement after completion of the project. Ex-Im Bank could consider pre-completion funding for widely used technologies with an experienced operator.
  • Financing of up to 18 years is available, depending upon the project’s economics.
  • The transaction must comply with Ex-Im Bank policies and procedures as required.
John Howley
Woodbridge, New Jersey

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