A total of $64 million from China Development Bank Corp (CDB) to construct solar power plants in California and New Jersey helps create jobs and benefits the local economy, said a spokesman for Solar Power Inc (SPI).
China-based LDK Solar Co Ltd announced on Jan 4 that it had secured $20 million from CDB to construct two solar power plants in California.
In addition, SPI, a California-based company majority owned by LDK, received $44 million from CDB to pay for the construction of solar projects it is working on jointly with KDC Solar LLC in New Jersey.
Established in 2005, LDK is a supplier of solar cells in Xinyu, Jiangxi province. It employs more than 20,000 workers worldwide.
SPI installs solar arrays on commercial buildings, including the 20th Century Fox movie studios in Los Angeles. SPI switched its focus from residential to commercial projects when its sales plummeted during the financial crisis.
In March 2011, LDK acquired 70 percent ownership of SPI for about $33 million. It also took over SPI's manufacturing plant in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.
CDB concentrates on financing emerging industries in China, which include solar power and other forms of clean energy.
Since LDK's founding in 2005, CDB has helped the company grow into one of China's largest integrated solar photovoltaic (PV) companies.
In line with China's "Go Global" strategy to acquire natural resources and expand China's multinational businesses and brands, CDB has been scaling up its international lending. Its book of outstanding domestic and foreign-currency loans totaled 4.51 billion yuan ($714 million) at the end of 2010, according to CleanTechnica.com.
LDK's relationship with CDB has enabled SPI to significantly enhance its solar project financing capabilities.
Mike Anderson, SPI's vice-president of corporate communications, noted that LDK's investment and support "has opened doors to key relationships like the one we now enjoy with CDB, enabling us to get financing for projects at a time when it is very difficult to come by".
In June 2011, SPI reached a three-year agreement with KDC to provide engineering on solar energy projects in New York and New Jersey.
"Our successful relationship with CDB is a direct result of our close working relationship with LDK," said Steve Kircher, SPI's CEO, in a press release.
"As we continue to develop our pipeline of projects globally, our partnership with CDB grows stronger."
SPI will look to CDB for additional financing as it continues to add to its pipeline of large-scale solar projects domestically and internationally, company officials said.
SPI targets the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. SPI says it is currently not doing any development work in China because LDK already is executing its own projects in the country.
Earlier this month, SPI announced it had won a contract from Seashore Solar Development LLC to build an 11.3 megawatt solar energy plant in Egg Harbor Township that will provide the southern New Jersey power grid with clean, renewable electricity.
The project is expected to create about 200 local jobs during construction, which will begin in the first quarter of this year, in addition to helping meet the state's clean energy targets.
Anderson said solar energy plants help local businesses save money by generating low-cost electricity. These projects also generate local employment.
"As we continue forward and secure more of these solar projects, thousands of jobs will ultimately be created," said Anderson.
"Every system we produce provides a hedge against rising energy costs. Additionally, our systems produce clean, renewable energy, which reduces dependence on fossil fuels and benefits the environment - this too has cumulative, long-term benefits."