Loan Guarantee to Fotowatio Solar Power Project Near Las Vegas, Nevada

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Nevada Congresswoman Shelley Berkley announced the offer of a conditional commitment for a $45.6 million loan guarantee by the Department of Energy to support a 20 megawatt AC photovoltaic (PV) solar energy generating facility. The solar energy project, sponsored by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, Inc., is being supported by DOE with funding from the 2009 Recovery Act. It will be developed approximately 25 miles northeast of Las Vegas, and the project’s sponsor estimates it will create 250 jobs at peak construction.

"Today’s announcement is yet another sign that Nevada is a major player in the growing solar industry," said Secretary Chu. "Investments like this one, along with the many other clean energy projects underway in the state, will help us to create jobs while positioning the U.S. to lead in the global energy race."

"This announcement clearly shows that Nevada is well on its way to becoming a global leader in clean energy job creation," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "Thanks to public-private partnerships like the loan guarantee program, scores of clean energy companies such as Fotowatio are bringing projects to Nevada to put people back to work by turning our state’s abundant clean energy resources into jobs and economic growth."

"This announcement means three things for Nevadans: jobs, jobs and jobs," said Nevada Congresswoman Shelley Berkley. "It’s why I fought so hard to protect the job-creating loan guarantee program when some in Congress were trying to kill the initiative entirely. Because we prevailed, our state is one step closer to becoming the clean energy jobs capitol of America and hundreds of Nevadans are about to go back to work."

The Fotowatio PV solar generating facility will include over 90,000 polycrystalline silicon modules attached to single-axis horizontal tracker technology that will capture more energy than fixed-tilt photovoltaic systems. The project, which will be the second largest photovoltaic generation facility in Nevada, is expected to avoid over 31,000 tons of carbon pollution annually. The facility is also expected to produce approximately 55,000 megawatt hours annually, enough to power over 4,700 homes. Power from the project will be sold to Nevada Power Company. The Fotowatio application was received by lender-applicant John Hancock Life Insurance (U.S.A.) 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 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 over $30 billion to support 30 clean energy projects across the United States. The program’s 14 generation projects produce over 25 million megawatt-hours annually, enough to power over two million homes. To date, the program has committed over $8 billion in loan guarantees to solar generation projects. DOE has also committed financing to support numerous other projects, such as four of the world’s largest solar power projects, two geothermal energy projects and the world’s largest wind farm.