DOE has committed $2 billion to two US concentrating solar power projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has assigned about $2 billion in loan guarantees for two solar projects. The first project, the 250 MW Solana concentrating solar power plant, was proposed by Albengoa Solar in Arizona. Under the second project, Abound Solar will build a factory that will yield thin film photovoltaic modules.

The announcement was made by President Barack Obama, who emphasized that these two projects could create some 3,600 new construction jobs and 1,600 stable jobs when fully operational. Obama said that the US will «accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy and double the use of renewable energy sources, which have the potential to create whole new industries and hundreds of thousands of new jobs».

Under the Solana project, a concentrating solar power plant will be developed (using parabolic troughs and molten salt solar energy storage systems) to be built near Gila Bend, 100 km southwest of Phoenix. DOE has granted $1,45 billion in loan guarantees that will allow to start building the plant, which will be the largest in the world when fully operational.

The loan guarantee awarded to Abound Solar amounts to approximately $400 million for two new cadmium telluride solar panel factories to be developed at Colorado State University. The target is to build a new factory in a former plant in Indiana and the full build-out of a plant with a potential capacity of 200 MW that has been inaugurated on April 14 in Longmont, Colorado.