This solar power project, one of the largest in the Caribbean, includes engineering services and solar-system racking exported from two American companies.
Williams Industries-Williams evergreen Ltd will use the solar-power system to provide 1.4 megawatts of on-site power to ten sites within the Williams Group portfolio.
Ex-Im Bank provided a $6.4 million loan guarantee to finance the export of solar modules from West Coast-based SolarWorld Americas to Williams Industries Inc.-Williams evergreen Ltd. of St. Thomas, Barbados.
“Ex-Im export financing for this deal supports several American businesses and helps support jobs in five states, including California, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, and Washington,” said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg.
“Our financing is good for American jobs, boosts American manufacturing and supplies clean, renewable energy to Barbados.”
The immediate savings in power costs will also furnish a hedge against future increases in electricity prices. Williams Industries, established in 1972, controls 13 wholly owned and 17 joint venture companies in Barbados, St. Lucia and other Caribbean islands. These companies are active in manufacturing, electrical engineering, construction, agriculture, tourism waste recycling, real estate development, and water desalination.
“Without the assistance of Ex-Im Bank, Williams Industries through its subsidiary Williams evergreen would not have been able to build 1.4 megawatts of solar capacity over the last six months,” said Williams Industries chairman Ralph “Bizzie” Williams. “As a Feed In Tariff is legislated for Barbados, we are looking forward to working with the Ex-Im Bank to build a very significant expansion of our output of electricity from the sun.”
SolarWorld Americas, a subsidiary of SolarWorld AG, employs about a thousand U.S. workers at its headquarters manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Oregon, and its sales and marketing hub in Camarillo, California. Engineering corporation CH2M HILL of Colorado provided engineering services to the project. The Tucson, Arizona manufacturing plant of Schletter Inc. US exported the necessary solar-system racking.
“With its sun-drenched tropical setting and reliance on imported oil for energy generation, the Caribbean is an ideal location for solar,” said Raju Yenamandra, vice president of sales and business development for SolarWorld. “In Williams Industries, we found a perfect partner for island solar development. By combining SolarWorld’s high-quality solar equipment with Williams’ knowledge of the Caribbean electrical sector, we can provide significant oil savings to the island and lower payments for Williams. With Ex-Im Bank financing, this project makes good economic and environmental sense.”
The Bank partnered with PNC Bank to provide the $6.4 million, 10-year loan guarantee. Barbados accounted for approximately $3.8 million of the Bank’s worldwide credit exposure as of the end of FY 2011. The Bank’s Environmental Export Program offers enhancements such as repayment terms of up to 18 years for eligible U.S. exports to renewable energy and water-related projects.
Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. In the past five years, Ex-Im Bank has earned for U.S. taxpayers $1.9 billion above the cost of operations. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance, and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.
Ex-Im Bank approved $32.7 billion in total authorizations in FY 2011 — an all-time Ex-Im record. This total includes more than $6 billion directly supporting small-business export sales — also an Ex-Im record. Ex-Im Bank’s total authorizations are supporting an estimated $41 billion in U.S. export sales and approximately 290,000 American jobs in communities across the country. For more information, visit www.exim.gov.