DOE offers nearly $2B in conditional loan guarantee commitments for two concentrating solar power plants; first US utility-scale deployment of Abengoa Solar Collector Assembly
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has offered conditional commitments to provide loan guarantees worth nearly $2 billion to support two concentrating solar power (CSP) projects—the Mojave Solar Project (MSP) in San Bernardino County, California; and the Genesis Solar Project, located on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Riverside County, California.
DOE is offering a conditional commitment for a $1.2 billion loan guarantee to support the Mojave Solar Project and a conditional commitment for up to a $681.6 million loan guarantee to support the Genesis Solar Project. At 250 megawatts (MW) each, the projects’ combined capacity will double the US’ currently installed CSP capacity and displace a total of 40% of the output from a typical 500MW coal-fired plant.
The 250MW Mojave Solar Project will be the first US utility-scale deployment of Abengoa’s latest Solar Collector Assembly (SCA), representing a significant improvement over the prior generation of parabolic trough technology installed in the United States in the 1980s and 90s.
The SCA’s advanced features include a lighter, stronger frame designed to hold parabolic mirrors that are easier and less expensive to build and install. The Assembly was originally developed in connection with a DOE award provided by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The SCA heat collection element uses an advanced receiver tube to increase thermal efficiency by up to 30% compared to the first CSP plants. In addition, the advanced mirror technology will improve reflectivity and accuracy.
Together, these improvements can permit the collection of the same amount of solar energy from a smaller solar field. Unlike older CSP plants, MSP will operate without fossil fuel back-up systems for generation during low solar resource periods.
Power from MSP will be sold to Pacific Gas and Electric Company. An estimated 80% of total costs, including both capital equipment and labor, are expected to be sourced in the US as MSP 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.
The 250MW Genesis Solar Project will feature proven and scalable parabolic trough solar thermal technology that has been used commercially for more than two decades. Power from the project will be sold to Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The lender-applicant, Credit Suisse AG submitted the application under the Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP).
The Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office administers three separate programs: the Title XVII Section 1703 and Section 1705 loan guarantee programs, and the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program. The loan guarantee programs support the deployment of commercial technologies along with innovative technologies that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions, while the ATVM supports the development of advanced vehicle technologies.
Under all three programs, DOE has issued loans, loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling more than $32 billion to support 32 clean energy projects across the US.