The Obama administration has given another boost to big solar in California, finalizing the $1.2 billion federal loan guarantee for Abengoa Solar’s 250-megawatt (MW) Mojave Solar project. The financing, which had been conditionally set in June, joins a host of loan guarantees closing before the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Section 1705 program for renewable-energy development wraps up at the end of the month. The program has been under fire in the wake of the Solyndra bankruptcy.
The Mojave plant, set for about 100 northeast of Los Angeles, will use concentrating solar power (CSP) technology. Abengoa does both power tower and parabolic trough versions of CSP, but in this case it will go the trough route – and the DOE said the newest generation of this technology is easier and less expensive to build and install than the prior generation, and uses a heat-collection element that can increase thermal efficiency by up to 30 percent.
Around 900 jobs are expected to be created in building the plant, which Abengoa hopes to have operating by 2014. And there will be plenty of indirect jobs as well, the DOE suggested. It said about 80 percent of the total cost of the project – $1.6 billion, according to Abengoa – including both capital equipment and labor, will be sourced domestically. DOE said the project “will purchase all of the receiver tubes from a facility in New Mexico, the parabolic trough mirrors from a new facility in Arizona and other key equipment from different suppliers in several states across the country.”
DOE said the plant will produce electricity equivalent to that which would power 54,000 homes annually. The Northern California utility PG&E will get it, under a 25-year agreement.
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