Loan Guarantee Program
In December 2010, The Department of Energy announced a $1.4 billion loan guarantee enabling Arizona Solar One LLC to create one of the largest parabolic trough solar power plants in the world. The Project uses an innovative thermal energy storage system that enables up to six hours of power generation without assistance from the sun’s rays. The 250 MW Abengoa Solana Project is located 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, AZ. The Solana Project is on schedule to begin operating in June 2013.
The Solana Project uses an innovative thermal energy storage system (first U.S. application) with molten salt as the energy storing media, combined with concentrating solar power (CSP) technology. The CSP technology is similar to technology that was first introduced in the U.S. in the 80s, which captures heat generated by sunlight and converts the energy into electricity. The Project spans roughly three square miles and consists of 32,700 collector assemblies—each comprised of 28 curved mirrors—to efficiently concentrate the sun’s energy into a heat transfer fluid. The heat transfer fluid heats water to produce steam. The steam runs a conventional steam turbine generator and molten salt stores the heat for later use. The innovative molten salt storage allows the project to run up to six hours without assistance from the sun’s rays. This gives the project the ability to meet the shoulder period demands for power by the off-taker or the ability to operate when the solar resource is not otherwise sufficient.
The Solana Project is expected to create 1,700 construction jobs and 60 permanent jobs.
The Solana Project will help reduce demand on Arizona’s water supply. The project’s land was previously designated for agriculture, and uses 75% less water for solar energy production than its previous designation. At the same time, the Solana Project will generate 1,095,000 MWh of clean renewable energy annually and reduce Arizona’s need for fossil fuel-based energy generation; eliminating nearly 650,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere each year. These reductions will contribute to Arizona state goals for renewable energy deployment as well as national targets to reduce the negative impact of climate change. Additional economic impacts include an estimated $300 to $400 million in 30-year tax revenues and more than $1 billion in gross state revenue.