Solar power plant closes financing, construction set to start

Competitive Power Ventures Inc., GE Energy Financial Services (NYSE: GE) and Diamond Generating Corp.--co-owners of the planned 800 MW, $900 million CPV Sentinel power plant--said they closed on project financing. The CPV Sentinel project is near Desert Hot Springs, Calif.

CPV, GE Energy Financial Services and DGC said that 23 banks—working with lead arrangers MUFG, Royal Bank of Scotland, ING, Natixis and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.—agreed to provide credit facilities of nearly $800 million for construction and other capital needs. The developers said interest in the peaking project was so high  the syndicated loan was 2.4 times oversubscribed. Additional details of the financing were not disclosed.

With all permits finalized and the debt financing in place, Gemma Power Systems California Inc. is scheduled to start construction of the 800 MW project immediately. CPV Sentinel is scheduled to go into commercial operation in the summer of 2013.

GE Energy also signed an agreement to supply eight gas-fired LMS100 turbine-generators to provide peaking power when wind or solar resources are unavailable. The turbines are designed to operate at 43 percent simple-cycle efficiency.

The CPV Sentinel project will supply power to the Coachella Valley and Los Angeles Basin under a  long-term agreement with Southern California Edison (NYSE: EIX). CPV will manage the project while DGC will serve as the plant operator. CPV, the managing member and developer, owns 25 percent of the project, while DGC owns 50 percent and GE Energy Financial Services owns 25 percent.

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