GENEVA and SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Etrion Corporation (TSX: ETX) (OMX: ETX), an independent solar power producer, and SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWRA, SPWRB), a US-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, today announced an agreement to build two solar power plants, totaling 10 megawatts, in the Puglia region of Italy. Etrion will own the power plants, and SunPower will design, construct and provide operations and maintenance services for the plants.
"We are pleased to contract with SunPower for another solar power project in Italy," said Marco Northland, Etrion's CEO. "The two, 5-megawatt sites in Brindisi and Mesagne are part of our internal portfolio and once again demonstrate our team's development and execution capability. Solar is a clean, silent, renewable source of energy that is becoming an increasingly valuable and necessary part of the world's energy mix."
SunPower is installing proprietary SunPower® Tracker technology at the Italian sites. The Tracker follows the sun during the day and delivers up to 25 percent more energy than fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land use requirements.
"SunPower offers a unique value proposition to power plant developers in terms of technology and bankability," said Yoram Amiga, president of utility and power plants international at SunPower. "Our proprietary Trackers optimize our clients' return on investment while our proven performance gives financial institutions confidence. We are very pleased to partner with Etrion to deliver clean, reliable solar power to the rapidly expanding Italian market."
The 10-megawatt ground-based solar photovoltaic project is expected to produce 17 million kilowatt hours of electricity and 6 million euros of earnings to Etrion before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) per year.
Construction of the solar project is targeted to begin by the end of November 2010. The first electricity sales from the project under the Italian feed-in-tariff regime are expected during the third quarter of 2011. The Italian feed-in-tariff guarantees the purchase price for solar electricity by the Italian government for 20 years from the start of operations.
SunPower has more than 650 megawatts of solar power plants installed or under contract around the world, including Italian power plants such as Etrion's 33-megawatt Montalto plant, the largest operational solar park in Italy.
The capacity of power plants in this release is described in approximate megawatts on a direct current (DC) basis unless otherwise noted. On an alternating current (AC) basis, the Puglia power plants are 9 megawatts in total, and the Montalto solar park is 28 megawatts.
Etrion Corporation develops, builds, owns and operates solar power plants in Italy. Etrion currently owns 40 megawatts (MW) of operational, ground-based solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants, has 8 MW of solar parks under construction and has more than 200 MW of solar development pipeline in Italy. Etrion is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and on the NASDAQ OMX Stockholm exchange (with the same ticker symbol "ETX"). For additional information, visit www.etrion.com.
Founded in 1985, SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWRA, SPWRB) designs, manufactures and delivers the planet's most powerful solar technology broadly available today. Residential, business, government and utility customers rely on the company's experience and proven results to maximize return on investment. With headquarters in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. For more information, visit www.sunpowercorp.com.
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CONTACT: Ingrid Ekstrom of SunPower Corp., +1-510-260-8368, email@example.com; or Garrett Soden of Etrion Corporation, +41 (22) 715 20 90, firstname.lastname@example.org