Solar Power From First Solar A $4.5B Winner

The U.S. Department of Energy, which looks of late to be kicking clean energy related conditional loan guarantees into high gear, said today it was offering around $4.5 billion in commitments to support three large scale California photovoltaic solar power plants. All total, the three plants are expected to create around 1,400 green jobs and approximately 1,300 megawatts of solar energy.

The three alternating current Cadmium Telluride (Cd-Te) thin film photovoltaic (PV) solar generation facilities the DOE is backing, the federal agency said, include “a $680 million loan guarantee to support the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1 project, conditional commitments for partial loan guarantees of $1.88 billion in loans to support the Desert Sunlight project, and conditional commitments for partial loan guarantees of $1.93 billion in loans to support the Topaz Solar project.”

photovoltaic solar, First Solar, Silver State South

image via First Solar

Perhaps benefiting the most from this massive loan guarantee is First Solar of Arizona, which sponsors all three facilities and will “provide Cd-Te thin film solar PV modules for the projects from a new manufacturing plant that has begun construction in Mesa, Arizona, as well as from its recently expanded manufacturing plant in Perrysburg, Ohio.”

A breakdown of the three supported projects:

  • Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1: 230 megawatt capacity; located in the Antelope Valley area of the Western Mojave Desert; expected to generate over 622,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year, equivalent to powering over 54,000 homes, and will avoid over 350,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
  • Desert Sunlight: 550 megawatt capacity; located on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in eastern Riverside County, California; expected to use 8.8 million Cd-Te thin film solar PV modules; expected to generate enough electricity to power over 110,000 homes and will avoid over 735,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
  • Topaz Solar: 550 megawatt capacity; located in eastern San Luis Obispo County, California; will use over 8.5 million Cd-Te thin film solar PV modules; anticipated to generate enough electricity to power approximately 110,000 homes and avoid nearly 725,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Other notable big DOE investments of late into clean energy include $1.4 billion for a massive, nationwide rooftop solar power project, nearly $360 million for a 150 megawatt Arizona solar PV plant, $1.8 billion for two CSP style solar power plants in California and $737 million for a Nevada power plant that uses molten salt to store energy.

Curious to learn more about solar power? Check out our archive on the subject.

I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.