Washington, D.C.– The Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the offer of a loan guarantee worth up to $967 million to Agua Caliente Solar to support the construction of a major new solar power plant in Yuma County. The 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.
In the wake of last month’s 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,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva. “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.”
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.
Pacific Gas & Electric has already said it will purchase power generated by the Agua Caliente project. The plant is expected to begin delivering power in 2012 and be fully operational in 2014, according to company information.
The Department of Energy, through its Loan Programs Office, has issued loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling over $16.5 billion to support 17 clean energy projects around the country. Altogether, the projects are expected to produce over 37 million megawatt-hours, enough clean energy to power approximately 3.5 million homes. Additional DOE-supported projects include two of the world’s largest solar thermal projects, the world’s largest wind farm and the nation’s first nuclear power plant in three decades. For more information, please visit http://www.lpo.energy.gov.