OPIC approves solar power loan for Chile

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The Overseas Private Investment Corp. approved a loan of up to $230 million for First Solar's 141 MW Luz del Norte photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant in Chile's Atacama region (III), according to Business News Americas.

Following the OPIC loan approval, and that of a $60 million loan from the World Bank's International Finance Corp. (IFC), First Solar said, in a statement, it would proceed with construction planning at the site.

The project will supply Chile's central SIC grid, and is among the biggest in Chile's solar pipeline.

"The Atacama's solar potential is a tremendous resource with room for growth," Opic spokesman Charles Stadtlander told BNamericas. "But it hasn't been fully developed yet."

Chile's environmental assessment agency (SEA) approved the project in March, although the First Solar statement did not include a timeline for its construction or startup. A company spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

BNamericas records show total investment in the project tagged at $370 million, and that it includes construction of a substation and a 220 kV transmission line connecting the plant to the existing Carrera Pinto substation.

First Solar has more than 8 GW installed worldwide, with Latin America representing the largest share of its non-North America project pipeline.

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