DOE Offers $2 Billion Loan Guarantees for Concentrating Solar Power Plants

June 15, 2011

DOE announced on June 14 its offer of $2 billion in conditional commitments to provide loan guarantees to support two concentrating solar power (CSP) projects in California, including $1.2 billion for the Mojave Solar Project in San Bernardino County and up to $681.6 million to the Genesis Solar Project, which is located on a Bureau of Land Management site in Riverside County. At 250 megawatts each, the projects' combined capacity will double the United States' currently installed CSP capacity.

Abengoa Solar Inc., the Mojave project sponsor, estimates that project will create more than 830 construction jobs and 70 operating jobs. NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, the Genesis project sponsor, estimates that project will create approximately 800 construction jobs and 47 operating jobs.

The Mojave project will be the first U.S. utility-scale deployment of Abengoa's latest parabolic trough technology, originally developed in connection with a DOE award provided by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The solar collector assembly heat collection element uses an advanced receiver tube to increase thermal efficiency by up to 30% compared to the nation's first CSP plants. In addition, advanced mirror technology will improve reflectivity and accuracy, allowing collection of the same amount of energy as older technologies from a smaller footprint. The project will generate enough electricity to power more than 53,000 homes.

The Genesis solar project will feature parabolic trough solar thermal technology that has been used commercially for more than two decades. The project is expected to produce enough electricity to power over 48,000 homes. To date, DOE's Loan Programs Office has committed over $10 billion in loan guarantees to solar generation projects. See the DOE press release and the Loan Programs Office website.