DOE Finalizes Seven Loan Guarantees Covering Solar, Bioenergy Projects

October 05, 2011

Photo of a large farm tractor in a field.

Biofuels from biomass harvested in farm fields such as this one are one energy source boosted by the latest DOE loan guarantees.
Credit:DOE

DOE announced between September 28 and September 30 that it finalized seven loan guarantees totaling more than $5.9 billion for solar energy projects in California and Nevada, as well as a bionenergy project in Kansas.

DOE announced five loan guarantees for photovoltaic (PV) projects. It finalized a $1.237 billion guarantee to support the 250-megawatt (MW) PV California Valley Solar Ranch Project, sponsored by SunPower Corporation, in San Luis Obispo County, California. The department also finalized a partial guarantee for a $1.4 billion loan to support Project Amp, a solar generation project that includes the installation of approximately 752 MW of PV solar panels on about 750 existing rooftops owned and managed by Prologis in 28 states and the District of Columbia. Another loan guarantee, for $646 million, will support the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1 Project, a 230-MW cadmium telluride thin-film PV solar generation facility in North Los Angeles County, California. DOE reported that it finalized partial loan guarantees of $1.46 billion to support the Desert Sunlight Project. The 550-MW project in Riverside County, California, is expected to be one of the world's largest solar PV plants, using approximately 8.8 million cadmium telluride thin-film solar PV modules. And the agency announced a $337 million loan guarantee to Mesquite Solar 1, LLC to support the development of an innovative 150-MW PV project in Maricopa County, Arizona.

Overall, the five PV projects are expected to power a total of 347,000 homes and fund more than 2,570 jobs. See the DOE press releases about the Solar Ranch, Project Amp, Antelope Valley, Desert Sunlight, and the Mesquite Solar projects.

A different form of solar is supported by DOE's $737 million loan guarantee for the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, a 110-MW concentrating solar power tower generating facility in Tonopah, Nevada. Using molten salt as the primary heat transfer and storage medium, the project will be the first of its kind in the United States and the home to the tallest molten salt tower in the world. The Crescent Dunes will deploy 17,500 heliostats (mirror assemblies) that will collect and focus the sun's thermal energy to heat molten salt flowing through an approximately 640-foot tall solar power tower. It is expected to fund 600 construction jobs and 45 permanent jobs while producing enough electricity to power more than 43,000 homes. See the DOE press release on the Crescent Dunes project.

On September 29, DOE announced that it finalized a $132.4 million loan guarantee to Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas to support the development of a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant. The project will fund approximately 300 construction jobs and 65 permanent jobs in rural Kansas, converting approximately 300,000 tons of agricultural crop residues into 23 million gallons of ethanol per year using an innovative enzymatic hydrolysis process. See the DOE press release about the Abengoa Bioenergy project.

DOE's Loan Programs Office has issued loans, loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling nearly $40 billion to support more than 40 clean energy projects across the United States. See the Loan Programs Office website.