Monday, October 03, 2011

DOE Approves $4.743 Billion In Solar Project Loan Guarantees

Sep 30: On the final day for release of the funding for loan guarantees under this section 1705, and in the midst of the intense political controversy over the Solyndra bankruptcy and its $535 million loan guarantee, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu announced four additional projects including: $1.46 billion to support the Desert Sunlight Project in eastern Riverside County, CA; $646 million for the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1 Project in Antelope Valley in North Los Angeles County, CA; $1.4 billion loan to support Project Amp for 750 existing rooftop solar projects in 28 states and Washington, D.C. on properties owned and managed by Prologis; and $1.237 billion for the California Valley Solar Ranch Project, in San Luis Obispo County, CA -- a grand total of $4.743 billion.
    The Desert Sunlight Project a 550 MW project is expected to be one of the world's largest solar photovoltaic plants and is expected to fund over 550 construction jobs. The project is expected to use approximately 8.8 million cadmium telluride thin film solar PV modules, which are commercially proven and have been deployed since 2001. The facility is expected to generate enough electricity to power over 110,000 homes and will avoid over 735,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. Project construction will take place in two phases, both of which are supported by power purchase agreements.  Phase I will generate 300MW of power, which will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric Company, while Phase II will generate 250 MW of power, which will be sold to Southern California Edison.
    The Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1 Project will employ First Solar's FS Series 3 PV Module and will feature innovative inverters with voltage regulation and monitoring technologies that are new to the U.S. market. The inverters enable the project to provide more stable and continuous power, increasing the reliability of large-scale solar power plants. The facility is expected to generate over 622,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year, equivalent to powering over 54,000 homes, and will avoid over 350,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. The Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1 Project is supported by a power purchase agreement to sell the power it will generate to Pacific Gas & Electric Company.
    Project Amp includes the installation of approximately 752 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, which is over 80% of the total amount of PV installed in the U.S. in 2010. The electricity generated from those panels will contribute directly to the electrical grid. The project sponsor estimates Project Amp will create more than a thousand construction jobs over a four year period. NRG Energy is the lead investor for Phase I of the installations. The project is expected to generate enough clean, renewable electricity to power over 88,000 homes and is expected to avoid approximately 580,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. 
    The California Valley Solar Ranch Project includes the construction of a 250 megawatt alternating current photovoltaic (PV) solar generating facility and associated infrastructure. The project is expected to fund 350 jobs during construction. The project is also expected to avoid over 425,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually and produce enough to power over 64,000 homes. The project will be the largest utility-scale PV project in the U.S. to utilize tracking technology combined with an innovative monitoring system that will improve annual output by approximately 25 percent compared with traditional fixed PV installations. The project uses a wireless tracker monitoring and control (TMAC) system to orient the PV modules toward the sun and maximize solar collection. The TMAC monitoring system receives real time weather updates so the solar array can be stowed in harsh weather conditions to preserve the life of the solar modules.
    In its releases, DOE indicated, "Loan applications reviewed by the Department have undergone many months of due diligence and often receive bipartisan support. DOE evaluates the technical aspects of an application to make sure the technology is feasible, works to ensure that projects can be built to scale, does extensive market analysis to ensure there is a place in the market for the product, and evaluates the finances of the project to ensure it is commercially viable. We are confident that supporting these projects will help American companies compete in the global clean energy market."
    Access a release on the Desert Sunlight Project (click here). Access a release on the Antelope Valley project (click here). Access a release on Project Amp (click here). Access a release on the California Valley project (click here). [#Energy/Solar]
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