Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) is expected to launch the financing for its Shams 1 solar project after the conclusion of a market sounding exercise.

Sources say the meetings with banks were well received and a request for proposals (RFP) that will ask for lending commitments will be issued soon.

Shams 1 will cost around $740m to develop, and the financing will include around $600m debt with a 20 year tenor. The scheme will generate 100 megawatts from solar power.

In early June Masdar confirmed that it had selected Spain’s Abengoa and France’s Total to build the plant in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi. One banker says, “There is a lot of interest in this project as it has strong sponsors with good banking relationships, and it is the first project of its kind in the region.”

The market sounding took place in June, with an RFP issued to banks asking them to give an indicative response on the financing.

France’s BNP Paribas is acting as financial adviser on the project.