U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the Energy Department finalized a $337 million loan guarantee to Mesquite Solar 1, LLC to support the development of an innovative photovoltaic solar generating project. The optimized 150 megawatt (MW) alternating current photovoltaic (PV) solar generation project will be located in Maricopa County, Arizona, approximately 45 miles west of Phoenix. Sempra Energy, the project sponsor, estimates the project will fund up to 300 construction jobs.
“Domestic solar power generation strengthens and diversifies our nation’s clean energy portfolio and helps us compete in the global clean energy race,” said Secretary Chu. “Continued support for these innovative technologies will help bring down the cost of clean, renewable energy, like solar power, while creating jobs here at home.”
The Mesquite Solar 1 Project will be one of the first utility-scale PV power plants in the country to use U.S.-manufactured, innovative transformer-less and liquid cooled inverter technology. The technology allows for significant improvements in energy output, a decrease in operating costs and improved reliability. The facility will avoid the emissions of over 200,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. The project is anticipated to generate nearly 350,000 megawatt hours of electricity in the first full year of production, or enough to power nearly 31,000 homes. This generation project is supported by a power purchase agreement to sell power to the Pacific Gas & Electric Company.
The Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) 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 Title XVII loan guarantee programs support the deployment of commercial technologies along with innovative technologies that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions, while the ATVM loan program supports the development of advanced vehicle technologies. To date, the Department has issued loans, loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling nearly $40 billion to support more than 40 clean energy projects across the United States, including several of the world’s largest solar generation facilities, three geothermal projects, the world’s largest wind farm, and the nation’s first new nuclear power plant in three decades.