Tucson, Ariz.– The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the finalization of its $967 million loan guarantee to Agua Caliente Solar to support the construction of a major new solar power plant in Yuma County. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva congratulated the company and said the loan “is exactly the kind of federal economic investment we need more of to help create jobs across this country.”
Creating jobs, Grijalva said, “is not a partisan issue. It’s a pressing national concern, and this project shows the great potential for the federal government to address that concern. These projects are the kind of public-private partnerships that truly benefit the business community, the local economy and municipal authorities all at the same time.”
Coming soon after the finalization of a $1.45 billion federal loan guarantee for Abengoa Solar to build its Solana solar plant near Gila Bend, the Agua Caliente agreement “brings Southern Arizona another step closer to realizing the economic potential solar power really offers,” Grijalva said.
The Agua Caliente plant will employ approximately 400 people during construction, expand the county tax and employment base when completed, and provide energy to approximately 100,000 homes through a contract with Pacific Gas & Electric Company. The plant will use thin film solar panels built by First Solar Inc., which is headquartered in Tempe, Ariz. The clean power generated by the plant is estimated to prevent the release of 237,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases per year, equivalent to taking 40,000 cars off the road annually, according to DOE information.
The Agua Caliente project will, when complete, be the world’s largest photovoltaic solar field. Abengoa’s Solana plant will be the world’s largest concentrated solar plant, a different kind of technology. The plant is expected to begin delivering power in 2012 and be fully operational in 2014, according to company information.
DOE has so far issued loans, loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling over $40 billion to support 42 clean energy projects across the country. For more information, visit the Loan Programs Office Web site at http://lpo.energy.gov/.