Italian IPP looks for LatAm expansion with innovative financing solution

by Jason Deign, Solarplaza

An Italy-based solar firm is aiming to develop 10 MW of Latin American PV this year, followed by 15 MW in 2016.

The Turin-based IPP and solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm Thesan is on the hunt for Latin American solar projects totalling 10 MW this year.

The company is hoping to identify ready-to-build projects that can be up and running before the end of the year, as well as longer-term opportunities for a pipeline of 25 MW next year, Pierluigi Borgogna, Thesan’s renewable energy division Director, told Solarplaza.

“Our strategy is to increase the number of megawatts in our portfolio, diversifying our source and technology risk,” he said. Thesan typically builds projects for equity and then seeks refinancing once a plant is connected to the grid. Borgogna believes this may be attractive to Latin American solar developers that are having trouble getting projects off the ground.

“We have flexibility to structure deals and don’t need bank money to build the project,” he said. Thesan only started operations in Latin America last year, when it opened offices in Mexico City, Quito and São Paulo. But it has already developed 7 MW of solar in Ecuador, of which 6 MW remains in its project portfolio. In Brazil, Thesan has plans for a plant in Rio de Janeiro State that will supply commercial customers. The project is due to begin construction in October 2015 and start operating in December. 

Borgogna said the company had recently secured USD$12 million in project finance from the Corporación Interamericana para el Financiamiento de Infraestructura, to refinance these and other Latin American projects.

In Latin America, Borgogna said Thesan was keen to hear from potential partners in any market where it would be feasible to secure bank refinancing on completed projects. In practice, this might exclude Argentina and Venezuela but leaves the rest of the continent wide open.

Thesan’s business model has already been put to the test in Eastern Europe. Since 2013, the company has developed 9 MW of projects in Romania and retains 5 MW in its portfolio. It has a further 4 MW of a total 22 MW worldwide portfolio in Italy, where it has developed a total of 50 MW in projects since 2010.

“We are not like a private equity firm,” said Borgogna. “We are fully integrated and can take on everything from sourcing land to managing a plant through to end of life.”


●     Meet Thesan as a networking sponsor at the 5-day Solar PV Trade Mission to Central America and Colombia, from 16-20 November 2015. For more information about this unique entrepreneurial adventure in the promising Central American and Colombian markets this November, visit: www.pvtrademissioncentralamerica.com. If you wish to contact Thesan directly, drop an e-mail to: renewableenergydivison@thesan.com