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Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) announced today it has provided project financing for an 11.3 megawatt (MW) solar project developed by Sun Edison LLC, a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials (NYSE: WFR). Located in southern New Mexico near El Paso, Texas, this is the sixth SunEdison utility scale solar project funded by Wells Fargo in the past year. El Paso Electric Company (EPE) (NYSE:EE) will purchase the power supplied by the project for the next 25 years under a Power Purchase Agreement.
Wells Fargo has invested more than $1 billion in solar project equity investments since 2007. This includes more than 250 commercial-scale solar PV projects, six utility-scale solar PV projects and a utility-scale concentrating solar thermal power plant. To date, Wells Fargo has provided over $2.8 billion in equity and over $900 million in debt financing for renewable energy projects in 28 states.
"The success of these projects demonstrates that the industry is growing as solar continues to provide a greater portion of the country’s energy mix,” said Barry Neal, head of Wells Fargo's Environmental Finance Group. "As one of the leading capital providers to the cleantech industry, Wells Fargo is committed to supporting solar power generation through investments such as the Chaparral project and to helping companies like SunEdison meet their financing needs."
The El Chaparral Solar Farm is situated on over 140 acres of land and is comprised of over 40,300 solar modules including MEMC Silvantis® solar modules. The facility is designed to produce approximately 26 million kilowatt hours of energy annually. This is enough energy to power 2,400 homes in the local community on an annual basis. Solar energy from the plant is expected to abate more than 38 million pounds of CO2 emissions annually, equivalent to removing more than approximately 3,700 cars per year, or 81,000 cars off the road during the 25 year period. The solar facility also saves more than 4.5 million gallons of water per year that would have otherwise been consumed if the electricity were generated by a natural gas combined cycle power plant.