Sunday, November 28, 2010

World's Largest Solar Power Project Close to Loan Guarantee

The world’s largest solar power project is closing in on a loan guarantee from the federal government, its developers said this week.

Solar Trust of America, LLC, of Oakland, California, said on Monday its development subsidiary Solar Millennium has received a term sheet from the US Department of Energy for the loan guarantee it is seeking for the 1,000 megawatt Blythe Solar Power Project.

The project is to comprise four 250-megawatt solar thermal power plants on public land in Riverside County, Southern California, generating enough power to supply more than 300,000 single-family homes.

The Blythe plants will use parabolic trough mirrors to focus sunlight on heat-absorbing pipelines, which would use a special fluid to transfer the heat to a central power-generating unit, where it would be used to produce steam to drive a turbine.

The draft term sheet from the US Department of Energy covers the first two of the four proposed power plants, offering a 500MW combined generating capacity. The solar company is hoping to seal financing for the facilities next year, supported by the federal stimulus loan guarantee.

John Clapp, Solar Trust of America’s Chief Financial Officer, said receipt of the term sheet was an “important milestone” for the project.

He said: “We are very pleased with the proactive response of the DOE loan guarantee team regarding the Blythe project and the improvements the DOE has made to support this critical program for innovative renewable projects in the US.”

Mr Clapp said his company was expecting the government agencies to quickly support loan guarantees for fully-permitted projects like Blythe.

Solar Trust said the Riverside County area had an unemployment rate of 14.7% last month, but its project is set to create around 1,000 jobs.

Uwe T. Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Solar Trust of America and Executive Chairman of project development subsidiary Solar Millennium, LLC, said: “This project construction is expected to create over 1,000 direct jobs in Southern California, 7,500 indirect jobs in related industries throughout the United States, and more than 200 long-term operational jobs at the facility itself. It will play a key role in stimulating the American economy.”


No comments: