Wal-Mart plans solar energy at more stores

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) announced today project financing for the deployment of a 53.5 megawatt (MW) multi-site solar project for Sun Edison LLC, a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials (NYSE:WFR). A site ceremony was held this morning in Carlsbad, New Mexico with the city’s mayor and officials from SunEdison, Xcel Energy, and Wells Fargo to announce the activation of the first three of five solar power plants that make up the 53.5 MW project. With the remaining two plants expected to begin operation before the end of 2011, the total 53.5MW solar project is expected to be among the largest photovoltaic solar power projects in the U.S. As the construction lender, Wells Fargo provided more than $200 million to finance the installation phase of the projects.

Building upon its ongoing support of the renewable energy industry, Wells Fargo began providing construction financing for the project earlier this year, and the new SunEdison projects collectively mark Wells Fargo’s largest renewable energy construction loan to date. Wells Fargo has also committed to provide permanent equity financing for all five projects upon completion. The company has already invested approximately $2.2 billion in renewable energy projects since 2006, including funding for 35 wind projects and over 220 solar projects in 26 states.

“Wells Fargo is committed to helping cleantech businesses and will continue to expand our support of projects and companies, such as SunEdison, that are leaders in building a clean energy economy,” said Puon Penn, head of Wells Fargo’s National Cleantech group.

Electricity from the solar farms is sold to Southwestern Public Service Co., a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, Inc., supporting the utility’s compliance with New Mexico’s renewable portfolio standard. Once all sites are active, the solar farms are expected to produce more than 1.9 million megawatt-hours of electricity over the next 20 years, generating enough to power over 8,000 average U.S. homes per year while the environmental attributes associated with the solar farms are expected to offset more than 2.9 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over 20 years.

"We are proud to make investments in our energy future through these groundbreaking solar projects," said Barry Neal, head of Wells Fargo’s Environmental Finance Group. "The success of this project is a testament to the leadership of all involved, the tremendous growth of the solar industry, and Wells Fargo’s commitment to renewable energy and sustainability.”

“SunEdison is proud of our ongoing relationship with Wells Fargo,” stated Chris Bailey, Vice President of Project Finance, North America for SunEdison. “Our proven experience with large scale deployments makes SunEdison the right choice for renewable energy investments as we continue to lead the way to faster, smarter and more affordable solar energy solutions.”

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (wellsfargo.com and wachovia.com), and other distribution channels across North America and internationally. With approximately 275,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in America. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 23 on Fortune’s 2011 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially.

SunEdison is a global provider of solar-energy services. The company develops, finances, installs and operates distributed power plants using proven photovoltaic technologies, delivering fully managed, predictably priced solar energy services for its commercial, government, utility and residential customers. In 2010 SunEdison deployed more than 160 Megawatts of solar throughout the world.

MEMC is a global leader in semiconductor and solar technology. MEMC has been a pioneer in the design and development of silicon wafer technologies for 50 years. With R&D and manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, MEMC enables the next generation of high performance semiconductor devices and solar cells. Through its SunEdison subsidiary, MEMC is also a developer of solar power projects and a worldwide leader in solar energy services. MEMC’s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "WFR" and is included in the S&P 500 Index.