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Peru solar power program makes headway

  |   Nov. 15, 2012 at 4:29 PM
LIMA, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Peru's solar power production received a boost with the commissioning of the first of two projects in a $210 million partnership involving a U.S. private equity investment firm, a regional bank and Spanish plant providers.

Spanish multinational companies Solarpack and Gestamp Solar are partners in the program that is being financed with help from Conduit Capital Partners LLC, a New York private investment firm, and CAF Development Bank of Latin America.

Conduit Capital Partners invests in infrastructural development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Peru has been developing conventional energy resources as well and is poised to become a major natural gas exporter.

Meanwhile, it is also attracting investors to its alternative and renewable energy development programs, including solar energy exploitation.

Conduit Capital Partners LLC and CAF say their joint effort is focused on Tacna and Panamericana solar projects in southern Peru. Tacna has gone into operation, while Panamericana is under construction.

Together the plants will produce about 40 megawatts of electricity.

Conduit Vice President Michelle Haigh said the twin project built on the company's "long history of successful investment in Peru."

Haigh said, "We are committing capital, development and operating expertise to complete the projects and position the assets as they begin operations."

CAF's Peru Director Eleonora Silva said, "As one of the largest photovoltaic plants connected to a public Latin American power grid, this is an emblematic project for our institution."

The bank says it is pursuing a strategy to promote the use of renewable energy in Latin America.

Conduit and CAF together acquired 81 percent of the projects, which will sell energy through 20-year power purchase agreements in U.S. dollars to the Peruvian system, with the energy ultimately being sold on Peru's national grid.

This is the first solar investment made by Conduit Capital Partners, which manages Latin Power Funds. Through that fund Conduit has made investments in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama and Peru.

The Latin Power Fund, launched in 1993, aims to promote sustainable energy development in Latin America. Its fund Latin Power I was the first private equity fund dedicated to infrastructure investments.

CAF has 18 member countries, 16 in Latin America and the Caribbean, plus Portugal and Spain, and 14 private regional banks as members. With headquarters in Caracas, Venezuela, CAF has offices in Brasilia, Bogota, Buenos Aires, La Paz, Lima, Madrid, Quito, Panama City and Montevideo.

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