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FRV Contracts With RES Americas To Build Landmark Project For Austin Energy

SAN FRANCISCO and BROOMFIELD, Colo., April 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- 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."

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