"After years of watching companies build things and create jobs overseas, it’s good news that we’ve attracted a company to our shores to build a plant and create jobs here in America," said President Obama.
Solana will include six hours of molten salt thermal energy storage capability, which will allow energy to be dispatched as needed during cloudy periods and after sunset. With this capability, Solana will be able to generate electricity well into the evening to help meet the summer peak demand. The plant will be located 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, near Gila Bend, Arizona. Solana will produce enough energy to serve 70,000 households and will prevent the emission of 475,000 tons of CO2 per year compared to a natural gas burning power plant.
DOE’s Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program was created to support the deployment of innovative clean energy technologies pursuant to Section 1703 of Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Title XVII). Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was amended by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to create Section 1705, a new program for the deployment of renewable energy and electric power transmission projects. Solana is eligible for a loan guarantee under both sections of Title XVII.
Santiago Seage, CEO of Abengoa Solar, said that "this conditional guarantee could allow us to start construction of Solana this year. I want to recognize the leadership and effort of the DOE in making Solana possible through this guarantee." Mr. Seage also added that Solana is in a very advanced stage of development and permitting, having received most of its authorizations from local, county, and state authorities. Recently, DOE conducted an Environmental Assessment study and issued a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the project. "What the project needs now is for Maricopa County and the state to continue their support and work expeditiously on the last remaining permits needed for construction to begin," said Abengoa Solar’s Seage.
The construction and operation of Solana will bring many economic and environmental benefits to Arizona and will support the nation’s goals for energy independence through a "green" economy. The plant will create significant tax income for local communities and the state over the life of the project.