Europe’s Biggest Solar Bonds Downgraded on Italy’s Policy

Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) — The biggest bond issuance for solar
farms in Europe was downgraded today because Italy changed its
renewable-energy policies.

The class A2 notes of Andromeda Finance, a SunPower Corp.
project company, were lowered to B, five levels below
investment-grade, from BB and given a negative outlook, Fitch
Ratings said in a statement.

“Lower wholesale market prices and a revised market price
forecast further contribute to the downgrade,” according to the
Fitch statement. “The negative outlook continues to reflect
further uncertainties with respect to the operating and
regulatory environment of solar photovoltaic plants in Italy.”

The Italian parliament in August approved a measure that
retroactively lowers the rates paid for power from solar farms.
Andromeda owns two power plants in Montalto di Castro with a
total capacity of 51.2 megawatts.

The 195.2 million-euro ($250 million) issuance in 2010 was
the largest ever in Europe tied to solar projects. The class A1
notes were affirmed at A- with a stable outlook.

SunPower, based in San Jose, California, is the largest
U.S. solar manufacturer by market value after First Solar Inc.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Justin Doom in New York at
jdoom1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at
landberg@bloomberg.net
Will Wade, Steven Frank

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