DOE Offers $1.187 Billion for Loan Guarantee Supporting the 250-Megawatt California Solar Power Plant

SunPower Corporation (Nasdaq: SPWRA, SPWRB), sponsor of the 250-megawatt (AC) California Valley Solar Ranch power plant, announced the photovoltaic project has been offered support via a conditional commitment for a loan guarantee of up to $1.187 billion from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). California Valley Solar Ranch is expected to create 350 jobs during construction, will power approximately 100,000 homes, and will be one of the largest photovoltaic (PV) solar power plants in the world, when complete.

NRG Solar, a subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG) will assume all ownership and financing responsibilities for the project, subject to certain conditions. SunPower will design, build, and initially operate and maintain the solar power plant. Construction is expected to start in the second half of 2011, contingent on permitting and financing, with a portion of the project expected to begin operations by the end of 2011 and the balance coming on line in 2012 and 2013.

“The offer of a conditional commitment for a loan guarantee from the DOE’s Loan Programs Office is a significant milestone for this project, which will make a substantial contribution to California’s effort to generate 33 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020,” said Tom Doyle, president of NRG Solar. “In addition to creating hundreds of jobs and displacing carbon dioxide emissions, the California Valley Solar Ranch will demonstrate photovoltaic technology at a large scale.”

“With this loan guarantee, San Luis Obispo County is one step closer to benefiting from more than $315 million of economic development from the California Valley Solar Ranch, while protecting thousands of acres of local habitat,” said Howard Wenger, president of the utility and power plants business group at SunPower. “The Department of Energy is driving innovative technology deployment to reduce the cost of central station solar power plants. Together with NRG, this is a transformative investment that the federal government can uniquely deliver to nurture innovation, create immediate jobs and stimulate the economy.”

The DOE Loan Programs Office was designed to accelerate the domestic commercial deployment of innovative and advanced clean energy technologies at a scale sufficient to contribute meaningfully to the achievement of national clean energy objectives, including job creation and reducing dependency on foreign oil.