SunPower, Etrion sign purchase agreement for Italian solar power plants

Source: SunPower Corp. 

SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ:SPWRA) (NASDAQ: SPWRB) announced that Etrion Corporation (TSX: ETX), an independent solar power producer, has signed a euro 48 million ( US $63.5 million)definitive sale and purchase agreement to acquire the equity in the first two phases of the Montalto di Castro solar photovoltaic (PV) power park, the largest in Italy. 

The acquisition of the 20-megawatt (MW) first phase of the project for euro 36 million (US 47.6 million) has been completed. The acquisition of the 8 MW second phase for euro 12 million (US $15.8 million) remains subject to standard closing conditions and is expected to close by the end of the third quarter, 2010.

SunPower will recognize the sale of the first phase of the project as a return of capital, and will recognize revenue on the sale of the second phase, including previously deferred EPC revenue, upon close of sale, which is expected by the end of the third quarter, 2010. 

SunPower designed and built the 28 MW power plant in the Lazio region of Italy near Rome, and will provide ongoing operations and maintenance services. The first 20 MW were connected to the grid in November 2009, several weeks ahead of schedule. The 8 MW second phase was commissioned this month. An incremental 44 MW is planned to be completed and sold by the end of this year, bringing the total to 72 MW. The Montalto solar park's first and second phases are rated at 28 MW on an AC basis and 33 MW on a DC basis. 

"The successful sale of the first phases of the Montalto solar park is an important milestone for SunPower," said SunPower President Howard Wenger. "The sale demonstrates our progress monetizing SunPower's European power plant pipeline of more than 1,200 MW that we acquired with the purchase of SunRay Energy in March 2010, and it helps validate our model of building and selling first-class solar power parks. Our expanding utility and power plant business provides us with strong revenue visibility in Europe, the Middle East and North America through 2014." 

"Successful closure of this transaction is a tribute to the professional skills of our project sales team," said Yoram Amiga, CEO of SunRay Energy, a SunPower company. "Financiers recognize SunPower's superior quality, reliability and performance as we serve local communities with clean, renewable power. We intend to complete construction of an incremental 280 MW of Italian power plants by the end of 2011." 

The Montalto di Castro park uses high-efficiency SunPower solar panels, the most efficient panels commercially available, installed on a SunPower® Tracker system. The Tracker follows the sun during the day and delivers up to 25 percent more energy than fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land use requirements. 

Worldwide, SunPower has more than 600 megawatts of solar power systems installed or under contract, including more than 225 megawatts of operational power plants in Europe.

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