Largest Solar Power Plant In Colorado To Begin Production In 2010

MetLife and John Hancock Financial Services will finance the construction and third-party ownership of a 19-megawatt (AC) solar photovoltaic power plant that SunPower Corp. is contracted to build for Xcel Energy in Colorado’s Alamosa County. Construction on the plant, which will be the largest solar power plant in Colorado, will begin this spring, with operations expected to commence before the end of the year. Approximately 100 jobs will be created during construction.

“Solar PV is a fast, flexible way for us to meet the wishes of our Colorado customers for more renewable, clean energy sources,” said David Eves, president and CEO for Public Service Co. of Colorado, an Xcel Energy company. “This agreement helps guarantee the future of this project and will help Xcel Energy in meeting the solar component of Colorado’s renewable energy standard.”

“MetLife recognizes the importance of investing in renewable energy ventures that will have a positive impact on the environment,” said Steve Kandarian, executive vice president and chief investment officer for MetLife. “This project builds upon the more than $1 billion that MetLife has already invested in renewable energy projects. It also demonstrates our commitment to support growth in the solar energy market by making it easier and more affordable for businesses and public entities to benefit from solar electricity.”

“John Hancock is delighted to continue our work financing large scale solar power in the U.S. with this major project that brings together such first class partners,” said John Anderson, senior managing director and head of John Hancock’s Power and Infrastructure Group. “The project finance teams at John Hancock and our parent company, Manulife Financial, have a portfolio of renewable energy financings that includes more than $2 billion of projects in the U.S. and Canada. We look forward to the successful completion of the solar power plant in Alamosa later this year.”

The plant will use SunPower T20 Tracker systems, which tilt toward the sun as it moves across the sky, increasing energy capture and providing more power on hot summer days when utilities need it most. SunPower Trackers generate up to 30 percent more energy per land area than conventional systems and, therefore, reduce land-use requirements.

“Today, high-efficiency solar PV technology is competitively priced for power plant applications. It’s fast to install, and delivers clean, renewable solar power during the times of day when demand is at its peak,” said SunPower CEO Tom Werner. “As a result of their investment, MetLife and Hancock are part of the solution to ensure the health of our economy and our environment. We are thrilled to initiate this relationship with such sophisticated, long-term investors.”

Founded in 1985, SunPower Corp. 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, California, SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

MetLife (MetLife Investors USA Insurance Company) is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc., a leading provider of insurance, employee benefits, and financial services with operations throughout the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Pacific regions. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife, Inc. reaches more than 70 million customers around the world.

John Hancock Financial is a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation, a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 22 countries and territories worldwide. The company operates as Manulife Financial in Canada and in most of Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States.

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