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Landmark Solar Generation Project in U.S. to Create Over 10,000 Jobs in 28 States

The largest distributed rooftop solar generation project in the world, based in America, is one step closer to becoming a reality. The U.S. Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office has given a consortium of three companies an offer of a conditional commitment to help finance a project expected to create the equivalent of over 10,000 jobs and generate employment in 28 states.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Prologis and NRG Energy have announced receipt of a loan guarantee supporting $1.4 billion of debt facilitating a total project size of about $2.6 billion. Plans call for the venture to be financed entirely by the private sector over the next four years. Once fully funded and completed, the solar installations should provide about 733 megawatts (MW) of distributed solar energy-enough to power 100,000 homes.

The three firms are now finalizing financing documentation for the solar project and starting the first installation phase. Regarding this initial phase, 15 MW of solar capacity is ready immediately for construction and installation in Southern California, where the power generated will be sold to a local utility under long-term power purchase agreements already approved. .

NRG Energy, one of the nation's largest electric power companies and solar energy developers, is the lead investor for the first phase of the project over the next 18 months. It will provide development resources and project expertise for the installations. BofA Merrill is acting as sole financial and structuring advisor, and sole lender, on this transaction (being executed under the Dept. of Energy's Financial Institutions Partnership Program, or FIPP). Through FIPP, the DOE will guarantee 80 percent of the $1.4 billion debt of the transaction's financing.

Prologis will provide site access to rooftops and also act as developer, construction manager and program sponsor; it also will make an equity investment. The San Francisco, CA-based company is the leading owner, operator and developer of industrial real estate, focused on global and regional markets across the Americas, Europe and Asia. Its Prologis Renewable Energy group, formed in 2009, manages installations and provides development services for renewable energy projects worldwide. Currently the group has solar projects installed or under construction on 43 buildings throughout France, Germany, Japan, Spain and the U.S.

"NRG believes rooftop solar is a smart choice for industrial, commercial and residential property owners in markets around the country," said Tom Doyle, president of NRG Solar (a NRG subsidiary). He added that the new program will provide the commercial scale bringing solar power benefits to customers across the country by nearly doubling the amount of grid-connected solar online in the U.S. today.

NRG Solar pursues a diverse, multi-technology approach to commercializing solar generation, and owns the largest solar photovoltaic plant operating in California. It has over 2,000 MW of solar projects under development or in construction in America.

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