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July 06, 2011

DOE Offers $4.5 Billion in Loan Guarantees for Three Solar Power Plants

DOE announced on June 30 offers of approximately $4.5 billion in conditional commitments for loan guarantees for three California solar power plants. The support is for three solar generation facilities using solar photovoltaic (PV) panels made from thin films of cadmium telluride. DOE 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. is sponsoring all three projects and will provide 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. The company expects that the projects will create a combined 1,400 jobs in California during peak construction.

The 230-megawatt (MW) Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1 project will be located in the Western Mojave Desert, approximately 80 miles north of Los Angeles. The installation will feature a utility-scale deployment of innovative inverters with voltage regulation and monitoring technologies that are new to the U.S. market. The inverters will provide the power grid with more stable and continuous power from the project, which is expected to generate enough electricity over the course of a year to power more than 54,000 homes, while avoiding 350,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

The 550-MW Desert Sunlight project, to be constructed in two phases, will be on a Bureau of Land Management site in Riverside County and will use 8.8 million thin-film PV modules. The 550-MW Topaz Solar project in eastern San Luis Obispo County will use more than 8.5 million PV modules. Each of the 550-MW projects is anticipated to generate enough electricity over the course of a year to power approximately 110,000 homes, avoiding nearly 725,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. DOE has now issued loans, loan guarantees, or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling more than $38 billion to support 40 clean energy projects across the United States. See the DOE press release and the DOE Loan Programs Office website.

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