Department of Energy Finalizes $1.45 Billion Loan Guarantee for One of the World's Largest Solar Generation Plants

December 21, 2010

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced a $1.45 billion loan guarantee has been finalized for Abengoa Solar Inc.'s Solana project, the world's largest parabolic trough concentrating solar plant. Located near Gila Bend, Arizona, the 250-megawatt (MW) project is the first large-scale solar plant in the United States capable of storing energy it generates. Solana will produce enough energy to serve 70,000 households and will avoid the emissions of 475,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year compared to a natural gas burning power plant.

"As the world's largest solar plant of its kind, the Abengoa's Solana project is playing an important role in creating jobs and clean energy for Arizona as well as fostering innovation in the U.S.," said Secretary Chu. "As today's announcement and other recent announcements of completed loan guarantees for wind and solar projects demonstrate, the Department's loan program is gaining momentum, creating jobs in communities across the country while putting us on the path to a clean energy future."

"I congratulate Abengoa Solar and the administration for developing public-private opportunities that will create well paying, highly valued jobs for Arizona," said U.S. Rep. Raul M. Grijalva. "This is yet another example of stimulus funds helping to lead our nation's and Arizona's economy back to recovery, while transitioning our energy policies to allow us to become a national and world leader in alternative energy generation."

Abengoa Solar Inc., the project sponsor, estimates that the Solana project will create between 1,600 to 1,700 new construction jobs and over 60 permanent jobs. The jobs created by the project will be located in Arizona and in neighboring states. To accommodate the project's need for over 900,000 mirrors, a mirror manufacturing facility will be built outside of Phoenix. As a result, the company anticipates the project will create additional direct investment in Arizona's economy.

U.S. providers and manufacturers will supply 70% of Solana's components, such as mirrors, receiver tubes, and the heat transfer fluid. Electricity from the project will be sold through a long-term power purchase agreement with Arizona Public Service Company.

The Department of Energy, through the Loan Programs Office, has issued loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees to support 16 clean energy projects totaling nearly $16.5 billion. Together, the 16 projects will produce over 37 million megawatt-hours, enough clean energy to power over 3.3 million homes. Additional DOE-supported projects include the world's largest wind farm and a 2,200 MW nuclear power plant—the nation's first in three decades. For more information, please visit the Loan Programs Office Web site.