San Carlos solar company taps BPI for bridge financing loan

The developer of the 22-megawatt San Carlos solar power facility in the Visayas grid has tapped bridge financing from the Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI) for the expansion component of its planned capacity.

San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. (SaCaSol), as of press time, has refused to divulge the amount it secured from the Ayala-run bank, but it noted it will finance the additional 9.0 megawatts of its total 22MW capacity.

The company inaugurated in May this year the initial 13-MW portion of its initial capacity installation in the presence of President Aquino and other key government officials.

For the entire 22-MW development, it was emphasized that such will be underpinned by the feed-in-tariff  (FIT) subsidy allotment for solar technology. Total cost for the project had been placed at R1.9 billion.

In a press statement, SaCaSol noted that it secured the BPI bridge financing “as it seeks to expand its portfolio of solar projects under construction.”

SaCaSol president Jose Ma Zabaleta said its financing synergy with BPI “is key to helping us deliver a larger portfolio of projects to meet the growing needs of our country for daytime power to reduce reliance on diesel peaking plants.”

The company vouched that its project is the first utility-scale solar ever built in the country after the passage of the Renewable Energy Act.

Corporate vehicle SaCaSol is a joint venture between Bronzeoak Philippines Inc. and Thomas Lloyd Cleantech Infrastructure Fund of Europe.

According to Thomas Lloyd project finance head Tony Coveney, the financing deal with BPI for the expanded solar portfolio in the Visayas grid “is an important benchmark transaction, as we work to develop the debt financing market for further renewable energy projects in the Philippines.”

BPI, for its part, is looking forward to duplicating such kind of transaction for other renewable energy projects being built in the country.

The San Carlos solar facility, BPI executive vice president Alfonso Salcedo Jr. has noted “will help address the issues of power shortages and the rising energy prices in the Visayas area.”