Canadian energy company Etrion Corporation (TSX: ETX) and U.S.-based solar manufacturer SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ:SPWRA) (NASDAQ:SPWRB) today announced an agreement to build four solar power plants in the Puglia region of southern Italy.

SunPower has more than 500 megawatts of solar power plants installed or under contract around the world, including Italian power plants in Milan and Faenza. In regards to today’s announced projects, SunPower is responsible for the design and construction of the plants, and will provide operations and maintenance services as needed.

Entrion’s CEO Marco Northland said SunPower’s market experience will enable the companies to meet their goals and finish the projects.

“Solar power generation will play an increasingly vital role in our efforts to build more renewable, clean energy sources. SunPower’s experienced approach to solar power plant design and construction will allow us to quickly and reliably complete these important projects,” Northland stated in the press release.

The four plants will be equipped with SunPower’s SunPower® Tracker technology, which tracks the sun during the day, delivering up to 25 percent more energy than fixed-tilt systems.

“SunPower offers a unique value proposition to power plant developers in terms of technology and bankability. Our proprietary Trackers optimize our clients’ return on investment while our solid balance sheet and rigorous contract guarantees give financial institutions confidence,” SunPower European Sales Director Mario Riello stated. “We are very pleased to partner with Etrion to deliver clean, reliable solar power to the rapidly expanding Italian market.”

Italian bank, Centrobanca will provide 83 percent of the financing for the project; Etrion is contributing 17 percent of anticipated project costs.

The companies said construction of the first of four projects is scheduled for the end of this month, and anticipate the first electricity sales from the projects during the third quarter of 2010.