Arizona Solar Plant Gets $967M DOE Loan

Central Arizona‘s construction industry is about to get a boost–not from rebounding home sales, but from a massive 290 megawatt (MW) capacity photovoltaic solar generating facility in Yuma County expected to create 400 construction jobs. The project’s sponsor, NRG Solar, estimates that, upon completion, this project will constitute the largest solar electricity facility in the world.

The Agua Caliente Solar Project was recently approved for a conditional loan guarantee of up to $967 million by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In announcing the loan, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu highlighted projects like Agua Caliente as helping the U.S. to compete globally for clean energy jobs.

image via Masdar PV

“The DOE Loan Programs Office is important to enabling the deployment of utility-scale renewable energy resources such as Agua Caliente, supporting financing terms commensurate with the long-lived nature of a photovoltaic solar power plant,” said Frank De Rosa, First Solar Senior Vice President of Project Development, North America, in a statement. The project was initiated by First Solar–which will be supplying thin film solar panels for the project–before it was obtained by NRG Solar.

The peak power output of the Agua Caliente Project is expected to coincide with peak power demand in the greater Phoenix area, due to the demand placed by air-conditioning on the local grid. The company anticipates the project will avoid approximately 237,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to taking over 40,000 cars off the road annually.  In addition, at full capacity, NRG estimates the project will have the potential to provide electricity for approximately 100,000 homes.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

    • Juan Jose Cervantes

      This is the problem; this technology and subsidies should belong to the people not corporations. Solar farms are NON- sustainable because it uses our open space while slowly creating a planet covered in foil….a Deathstar! Why not give this opportunity to the “people” to put on their property in the cities where we USE this energy, not at a distant location. This is the act of sustainable responsibility, where we must all pay good attention to where the technology is built, WHO builds it, so that is helps developing our economy and creating jobs at the same time. Otherwise it is corrupt like big oil!

    • There is only continued growth in the future of the solar industry. I don’t think a lot of people realize that billions of dollars are saved by solar power each year in the U.S. Solar panels tied to the electrical grid actually help minimize the number of power outages that cost the country a small fortune each year.

    • Solar water heaters are a good way to enter to solar arena. Once you see how easy, cost-effective and earth friendly they are, you will probably look into solar panels. It truly is the way of the future.