QUITO - Ecuador's government on Friday signed a deal with Spanish company Solarpack for the construction and operation of the country's first large-scale solar power project, with an estimated investment of nearly $145 million.

Though the South American country had the capacity to produce some 6,400 megawatts of energy in 2021, largely from thermo and hydropower, it is seeking private capital to develop renewable energy projects to meet domestic demand and be able to export to Colombia and Peru.

It will need some $2.2 billion in private funds to develop renewable energy projects over the next decade, according to the government.

The Solarpack project, to be located in the El Aromo area of coastal Manabi province, will have capacity of 200 megawatts.

"With an investment of nearly $145 million, the El Aromo photovoltaic project will be a reality in 2025," said President Guillermo Lasso at the signing.

"Investors have confidence that they are negotiating with a serious government, an honest government," Lasso added.

Lasso is facing impeachment calls over allegations people close to him took bribes in exchange for doling out contracts and jobs at state companies, accusations his government has called unreasonable.

Solarpack will provide the investment and have the concession for 20 years, Lasso said, adding that the project will reduce CO2 emissions by 221,000 tonnes per year.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Bill Berkrot)