Neoen has announced the signature of financing for the El Llano project, a 375MW solar project in the state of Aguascalientes in Mexico. The power plant is wholly-owned by Neoen.
Located 20km east of the town of Aguascalientes, state of Aguascalientes, in the center of Mexico, El Llano will cover 800 hectares of flat land. It will be connected directly to Comisión Federal de Electricidad's high-voltage network. El Llano will sell around 70% of the electricity produced at a fixed, indexed price of USD18.93/MWh to a consortium consisting of CFE SSB, Iberdrola Clientes and Menkent. The purchasing contract will last 15 years for electricity and 20 years for clean energy certificates from its activation date at the end of the second quarter of 2020. The remainder of the electricity produced will be sold directly on the Mexican electricity market.
Sinohydro and Novamper will build the project under a turnkey contract. El Llano will use more than a million monocrystalline modules fitted to Soltec trackers to be supplied by Longi and Hanwha Q Cells. At its peak, construction of the project will employ up to 820 people, the vast majority of whom will come from the Aguascalientes region, thus stimulating and diversifying the local economy. Operation and maintenance of the project will be managed by Sinohydro and Novamper once the plant comes into service.
Bancomext will provide the project's senior debt for total investment, excluding financing costs of $280 million. Astris Finance, Norton Rose Fullbright, EOS, PwC, Deloitte, Pöyry, Beecher Carlson and Ester advised the project company on behalf of Neoen. Ritch, Mueller, SC, Shearman & Sterling, UL, Natura, KPMG and Mandy McNeil International advised the lenders.
Lionel Bony, Managing Director of Neoen in Mexico, commented: "Our El Llano power plant enjoys excellent levels of sunshine and very good conditions for grid connection. The size of the farm and the structure of the Mexican electricity market make this an exceptional project from every angle. It will employ up to 820 people at the peak of the construction process, deliver significant benefits for local communities and increase the competitiveness and independence of the Mexican electricity sector. The project will provide the country's cheapest solar electricity and has been designed to meet the highest environmental, employment and safety standards. We are very proud of this project and would like to offer our warmest thanks to the staff at Neoen and to all our partners, in particular the municipality of El Llano and the authorities of Aguascalientes, who have demonstrated their unstinting support throughout the project's development."
Xavier Barbaro, Neoen's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, concluded: "Its size, the price of the electricity it will supply and its sophisticated structuring make El Llano an exemplary project for Neoen. It reflects our very strong internal expertise in developing robust, local projects on a very large scale, which allows us to compete successfully in the world's most competitive tender processes, whether public or private, be they in Mexico or any of the other countries in which we are expanding. I would add my thanks to all our partners who helped us make this project such a success."