Construction begins on Fotowatio Renewable Ventures' 30-MW Webberville Solar project near Austin, Texas, that will sell electricity under 25-year power purchase agreement to Austin Energy

SAN FRANCISCO and BROOMFIELD, Colorado , April 26, 2011 (press release) – Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) announced today that it had closed financing and begun construction on the 30 megawatt (MW) Webberville Solar project, one of the largest solar PV systems in the U.S.  The project, which will be located just outside Austin, Texas, is scheduled to be operational by year-end.  Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES Americas), headquartered in Colorado with an Austin office of 20 employees, has been selected to construct the project and provide operations and maintenance services for the power plant for five years.  Once operational, the solar energy from the plant will provide electricity under a long-term power purchase agreement with Austin Energy for 25 years.

“This utility-scale solar deployment is a critical component of Austin’s generation diversity and renewable energy goals,” said Larry Weis, Austin Energy General Manager. “It is also integral to an overarching transition to a new energy economy and a commitment by the Austin community to take a leadership role in protecting our environment and promoting sustainability.”

FRV has partnered with Bayerische Landesbank (BayernLB), which has fully underwritten the construction debt for the project.  With this team now in place, the construction of the Webberville Solar project — sited on Austin Energy-owned land in Travis County, approximately 15 miles east of Austin in Webberville, TX — is fully under way. In order to maximize the solar energy output at the site, the solar plant will be constructed by mounting modules on a flat, single-axis tracking system.  The project will deploy crystalline 270W photovoltaic modules that FRV procured directly from Trina Solar.  The Webberville Solar project will provide enough clean energy to power 5,000 homes, while avoiding the emission of approximately 30,000 tons of CO2 per year.  

“Austin Energy’s leadership in renewable energy is a superb example for utilities across the country and reflects a strong commitment to their community and environment,” said Jose Benjumea, CEO of FRV.  ”We are very proud to be financing, developing and, now constructing this landmark project.”  FRV’s vice president of development, Tim Lasocki, added, “Austin Energy has been proactive and dedicated to this project and understands the incredible level of effort required to reach the point that we are at today. We believe this will be one of the highest quality solar installations in the United States and we look forward to delivering both economic and environmental benefits to the region.”

“We are delighted that FRV selected us to build Webberville Solar, which will help Austin Energy reach their 35% renewable energy goal,” said Andrew Fowler, executive vice president of construction of RES Americas, the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor for the project.  ”RES Americas is excited to continue providing jobs and clean, renewable energy to Texas.”

About FRV

FRV is a global independent power producer that develops, owns and operates solar power plants.  It is one of the largest solar power companies in the world with over 230 MW in operation and construction, and more than 2,200 MW under development.  FRV is a pioneer in U.S. solar project development having built the country’s first utility-scale power plant in 2007.  FRV develops solar projects using a robust and disciplined development process supported by core competencies across the project lifecycle including, site acquisition, interconnection, financing and plant development. FRV has offices in San Francisco (U.S.), Sydney (Australia), Madrid (Spain) and Torino (Italy), and is owned by GE Energy Financial Services, Landon Group, and Qualitas Venture Capital.

About Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc.

Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES Americas) is a fully-integrated renewable energy company that develops, constructs, owns, and operates projects across North America. RES Americas has constructed more than 4,200 MW of wind, which represents more than 10% of the operating installed wind capacity in the US.  The company currently has more than 1,000 MW of renewable energy under construction, and approximately 10,000 MW under development.  RES Americas’ corporate office is located in Broomfield, CO with regional offices located in Austin, TX; Portland, OR; Minneapolis, MN. Canadian projects are managed from Montréal, Québec, by its affiliate, RES Canada. RES Americas is part of the RES Group, a leading international renewable energy developer. For more information go to www.res-americas.com.

About Austin Energy

Austin Energy is the nation’s ninth largest public power utility, serving more than 400,000 customers and a population of almost 1 million in Austin, Travis County and a small area of Williamson County, Texas. The Utility operates a diverse generation portfolio that includes nuclear, coal, natural gas and renewables, with annual revenues in excess of $1.2 billion.  Austin Energy electric rates are among the lowest in the state and base electric rates have not been increased since 1994.

About BayernLB

Bayerische Landesbank, based in Munich, Germany, is owned by the Free State of Bavaria and the Association of Bavarian Savings Banks. Its consolidated total assets as per December 31, 2010 were 316 billion Euros. BayernLB concentrates on the customer segments including large German and international corporate customers, German mid-cap corporate customers, German public sector and institutional investors, German commercial real estate and German retail customer business. For more information, see www.bayernlb.com.

About Trina Solar Limited  

Trina Solar Limited (TSL: 26.84 -1.25 -4.45%) is a leading manufacturer of high quality modules and has a long history as a solar PV pioneer since it was founded in 1997 as a system installation company. Trina Solar is one of the few PV manufacturers that have developed a vertically integrated business model from the production of monocrystalline and multicrystalline ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of high quality modules. Trina Solar’s products provide reliable and environmentally-friendly electric power for a growing variety of end-user applications worldwide. For further information, please visit Trina Solar’s website at http://www.trinasolar.com.

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