IDB to fund Uruguay solar plant

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a $65.9m loan to a subsidiary of Fotowatio to build, operate and maintain a 64.8MW solar PV plant under construction near Salto in northwestern Uruguay.

A spokesperson tells Recharge that IDB will provide La Jacinta SRL $40.9m from its ordinary capital and $25m from the Canada Climate Fund, which the bank administers.

Spanish finance group is providing $24m for balance of plant cost estimated at $24m.

The facility, due to reach commercial operation by June 2015, will supply an average 96 GWh per year to state-owned power utility UTE. LA Jacinta has a 30-year power purchase agreement with UTE.

Jacinta will use modules from Chinese industrial group BYD, which last month unveiled plans to begin solar production from a new plant in Brazil.

EPC work will be handled by Spain’s OHL Industrial, with the plant expected to be complete by May 2015.

“This marks another step forward for the country in the introduction of non-traditional renewable energy in the energy network,” says Jean-Marc Aboussouan, head of infrastructure at IDB’s Structured and Corporate Financing Department.

“It also shows that solar energy, like wind power, can be competitive and viable in financial terms in the region,” he adds.

Uruguay's government has launched a 200MW solar PV development program to help reduce the country's dependence on imported fossil fuels.