DOE Finalizes $1.45 Billion Loan Guarantee for Huge Arizona Solar Generation Plant

December 21, 2010

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced on December 21 that it had finalized a $1.45 billion loan guarantee for Abengoa Solar Inc.'s Solana project near Gila Bend, Arizona. The 250-megawatt (MW) project — believed to be the world's largest parabolic trough concentrating solar plant— is the first large-scale U.S. solar plant 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.

The project sponsor estimates that the Solana project will create between 1,600 to 1,700 new construction jobs and more than 60 permanent jobs in Arizona and in neighboring states. For example, to meet the project's need for over 900,000 mirrors, a mirror manufacturing facility will be built outside of Phoenix. Electricity from the project will be sold through a long-term power purchase agreement with Arizona Public Service Company. DOE's 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. See the DOE press release and the Loan Programs Office Web site.