$185m OPIC infusion to bolster Conduit Peru push

Conduit Capital will use the funding to further its renewable energy profile in Peru. The private equity firm will build two solar plants in rural Tacna as well as Panamericana.

A $185 million shot in the arm from development finance institution Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will help Conduit Capital Partners bulk up its renewable energy profile in Peru.

The funding package from OPIC, a Washington, D.C.-based federal government agency, backed Conduit in its effort to construct and finance a 20-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Tacna, Peru, as well as a second 20MW PV plant in nearby Panamericana, OPIC said.

Each power station is located in the Tacna Region, in southernmost Peru, a largely rural region with a mountainous terrain deal for abetting solar generation. Scott Swensen, Conduit chairman, told Infrastructure Investor the $185 million in funding “is enough to cover each project”.

Swensen, based in New York, declined to provide additional comment.

“This project will enable Peru to take advantage of its great solar potential in order to increase energy access in rural, poorer areas where the need is greatest,” said OPIC president and chief executive Elizabeth Littlefield in a press statement.

For Conduit, a private equity firm focused on infrastructure, Latin America – including Peru – is a target market.
In April, Conduit sold its remaining interest in Kuntur, Gasoducto Andina del Sur – a 1,000-kilometre gas pipeline the firm bought in 2008 for $1.5 billion. The pipeline had been owned by Latin Power III, a Conduit private equity fund.

Using the photovoltaic effect, a PV power plant can create voltage or electric current in a material upon exposure to light.

In June 2011, OPIC initiated its first-ever large scale PV project in Peru, approving a total of $123 million for power plant construction.