California will soon be home for two new concentrating solar power (CSP) facilities. The United States Department of Energy has awarded conditional loan guarantees to both Abengoa Solar, Inc. and NextEra Energy Resources, LLC to support the development and construction of a combined 500 MW of solar power.
Abengoa Solar Inc, the U.S. wing of Spain's Abengoa (MCE: ABG) was offered a loan guarantee of US$1.2 billion for its Mojave Solar project in San Bernardino County. The 250 MW CSP facility will employ the company's latest Solar Collector Assembly technology, which features a lighter, stronger frame design and parabolic mirrors that are less expensive to both build and install.
This project is Abengoa Solar's first utility-scale project in the U.S. to use this technology. When the Mojave Solar Project is complete in 2013, it will produce enough energy to power 54,000 homes and reduce California's carbon footprint 350,000 tons a year. Last September, the project received the green light to proceed from California's Public Utilities Commission, the state's energy regulatory body.
NextEra Resources, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE) was awarded US$681.6 million to support construction of its Genesis Solar Project in Riverside County. The 250 MW solar project is hosted on public land managed by Bureau of Land Management. When complete the project will displace over 320,000 tons of carbon and generate enough electricity to power 48,000 homes.
The electricity generated from both the Mojave Desert Solar project and the Genesis Solar Project will be sold to Pacific Gas and Electric Company through long term power purchase agreements. Combined, the projects will create an estimated 1,630 construction jobs and 117 permanent operating jobs. In a country still struggling to arise from a recession, U.S. Senator Dianne Fienstien is anxious for these loans to be finalized so that the two companies can begin to put Californians to work.
"Today's announcement demonstrates the potential for the loan guarantee program to drive private investment for large-scale, clean-energy projects and create hundreds of jobs in California," said Feinstein.
She continued, "The loan guarantee for Abengoa Solar will finance a widely-supported and fully permitted solar plant on private, disturbed lands in San Bernardino County. The loan guarantee to finance NextEra's project in Riverside County will enable construction of a large-scale solar plant in a county devastated by the economic downturn. Together these projects will create more than 1,700 jobs in California. I hope the Energy Department and OMB will finalize these loans as quickly as possible."
This is the second multi-billion dollar loan guarantee Abengoa has received from the U.S. government in the last year. In May 2010, the DOE offered Abengoa a $1.45 billion loan guarantee for its Solana solar project -- a 280 MW solar concentrating power plant in Arizona. Both the Mojave and Solana projects will be some of the largest CSP solar facilities in the world when they are complete.
Image Credit: Tom Raftery via Flickr
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