DOE Offers Nearly $8.5 Billion for Solar Projects
June 30, 2011
In the past three weeks, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced the offer of more than $8.5 billion in conditional commitments to provide loan guarantees to support nine solar projects—including concentrating solar power (CSP) projects, a utility-scale photovoltaics (PV) project, three thin-film PV projects, a massive rooftop solar project, and two innovative manufacturing plants. Together, these projects will create more than 6,670 jobs, expanding America's clean energy economy.
On June 30, Secretary Chu announced offers of conditional commitments for loan guarantees, of approximately $4.5 billion, to support three alternating current Cadmium Telluride (Cd-Te) thin film PV solar generation facilities. The Department is offering a conditional commitment for a $680 million loan guarantee to support the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1 project, conditional commitments for partial loan guarantees of $1.88 billion in loans to support the Desert Sunlight project, and conditional commitments for partial loan guarantees of $1.93 billion in loans to support the Topaz Solar project. First Solar, Inc., with headquarters in Tempe, Arizona, is sponsoring all three projects and will provide Cd-Te thin film solar PV modules for the projects from a new manufacturing plant that has begun construction in Mesa, Arizona, as well as from its recently expanded manufacturing plant in Perrysburg, Ohio, which serves as its primary hub for engineering, research and development. The company expects that the projects will create a combined 1,400 jobs in California during peak construction. For more information check out the press release or visit the Loan Programs Office.
On June 22, Secretary Chu announced the offer of a conditional commitment to provide a partial guarantee for a $1.4 billion loan to support Project Amp. This project will support the installation of solar panels on industrial buildings across the country, with the electricity generated from those panels contributing directly to the electrical grid, as opposed to powering the buildings where they are installed. Supported by funding from the 2009 stimulus bill, the solar generation project includes the installation of approximately 733 megawatts (MW) of PV solar panels, which is nearly equal to the total amount of PV installed in the U.S. in 2010. The project sponsor estimates Project Amp will create at least one thousand jobs over a four year period. For more information check out the press release.
On June 17, Secretary Chu announced the offer of a conditional commitment for a $150 million loan guarantee to 1366 Technologies, Inc. for the development of a multicrystalline wafer manufacturing project. The project will be capable of producing approximately 700 to 1,000 MW of silicon-based wafers annually using a revolutionary manufacturing process called Direct Wafer. The innovative process could reduce manufacturing costs of the wafers by approximately 50%, dramatically cutting the cost of solar power. Phase 1 of the project will be located in Lexington, Massachusetts and is expected to generate 70 permanent jobs and 50 construction jobs. The company is evaluating site locations for another planned phase, which they anticipate will create hundreds of additional jobs. For more information check out the press release.
On June 16, Secretary Chu announced the offer of a conditional commitment for a $275 million loan guarantee to Calisolar Inc. to commercialize its innovative solar silicon manufacturing process. Calisolar's innovative process should produce silicon for use in solar cells at less than half the cost of traditional polysilicon purification processes, which will reduce the overall cost of solar modules and panels. At full production, the manufacturing plant is expected to produce 16,000 metric tons (MT) of solar silicon annually, equivalent to more than two gigawatts of solar power generation per year. The project will be built in three phases of 5,333 MT capacity each, and is expected to be located in a former General Motors stamping plant in Ontario, Richland County, Ohio. Calisolar estimates that the facility will generate, at its peak, nearly 1,100 permanent jobs and up to 1,000 construction jobs. For more information check out the press release.
On June 15, Secretary Chu announced the offer of a conditional commitment for a $359.1 million loan guarantee to Mesquite Solar 1, LLC to support the development of a photovoltaic solar generating project. The optimized 150 MW alternating current PV solar generation project is sponsored by Sempra Generation and will be located in Maricopa County, Arizona, approximately 45 miles west of Phoenix. Sempra Generation estimates the project will create up to 300 construction jobs and 7-10 full time operating jobs. For more information check out the press release.
On June 14, Secretary Chu announced the U.S. Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office offer of conditional commitments to provide loan guarantees to support two CSP projects—the Mojave Solar Project in San Bernardino County, California, and the Genesis Solar Project, located on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Riverside County, California. The Department is offering a conditional commitment for a $1.2 billion loan guarantee to support the Mojave Solar Project and a conditional commitment for up to a $681.6 million loan guarantee to support the Genesis Solar Project. At 250 megawatts (MW) each, the projects' combined capacity will double the nation's currently installed CSP capacity and displace a total of 40% of the output from a typical 500MW coal-fired plant. Abengoa Solar Inc., the Mojave Solar project sponsor, estimates that project will create more than 830 construction jobs and 70 operating jobs. NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, the Genesis Solar project sponsor, estimates that project will create approximately 800 construction jobs and 47 operating jobs. For more information check out the press release.
The Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office administers three separate programs: the Title XVII Section 1703 and Section 1705 loan guarantee programs, and the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program. The loan guarantee programs support the deployment of commercial technologies along with innovative technologies that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions, while the ATVM supports the development of advanced vehicle technologies. Under all three programs, DOE has issued loans, loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling over $38 billion to support 40 clean energy projects across the U.S. The program's 23 generation projects will produce over 32 million megawatt-hours annually, or enough to power over 2.5 million homes. To date, the program has conditionally committed over $16 billion in loan guarantees to support 15 solar generation projects. DOE has also conditionally committed financing to support numerous other projects, such as four of the world's largest solar projects, two geothermal projects, the world's largest wind farm and the nation's first new nuclear power plant in three decades. For more information, please visit the Loan Programs Office.