Market News

 August 27, 2007
Wells Fargo Invests in Solar, Loans Money for Green Projects

 Las Vegas, USA -- Wells Fargo & Co. announced this month a flurry of environmentally driven moves, including an investment in solar power, loans for green projects and an electricity price hedging offering to help mid-market companies manage power costs.

The latest announcement involves a $266 million equity investment in solar energy --- the largest in the company's history. The project, a 64-megawatt Concentrated Solar Power plant called Nevada Solar One near Las Vegas, is expected to be the largest solar facility built in the world in 16 years, the company said last week.

Wells Fargo was one of three equity investors in the deal, which includes an affiliate of Northern Trust and JPMorgan Capital Corp., who underwrote equity and led equity investors.

Nevada Solar One is expected to neutralize electricity costs in a state that has seen electricity prices rise more than 50 percent since 2000. The renewable energy will be sold to Nevada Power Company and Sierra Power Company through long-term power purchase agreements during peak demand, when prices and demand are highest.

"Vast opportunity exists to help our customers and our nation take advantage of clean, renewable energy," Barry Neal, Wells Fargo's director of Environmental Finance, said in a statement. "Our goal is to seize the right opportunities by drawing from our breadth of financing capabilities to deliver solutions that benefit our customers, our communities, our shareholders and our environment."

The project will span 400 acres with more than 182,000 parabolic trough-shaped mirror panels that concentrate solar radiation onto receiver tubes, creating fluid-driven steam to power conventional steal turbines.

In early August, the company announced it loaned $28 million to U.S. companies making environmental improvements in Panama and India.

One, an Ohio company, will build an irrigation tunnel beneath a wildlife refuge in India while the other, an Alaskan company, will recover hardwoods from forests that were flooded to build the Panama Canal.

Wells Fargo's hedging offering can help companies that spend more than $1 million on electricity each year. Hedging greater control over both short- and long-term electricity costs and protects companies from potentially large year-over-year fluctuations in the price of electricity, it said.

"As electricity costs continue their long-term upward trend, managing power costs can often mean the difference between profit and loss for many small and medium-sized companies," Anil Suri, managing director in Wells Fargo's Financial Products Group, said in a statement Aug. 1. "All middle market companies depend on having reliable, affordable power, but many do not have in-house experts or the time to effectively manage electricity market risk. We now offer that increasingly vital service using the same disciplined approach Wells Fargo brings to its customers in other areas of financial risk management every day."