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07/01/2011 09:06 AM     print story email story  

First Solar Gets $4.5B Loan Guarantees, Largest for Any Single Company News

First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) has received $4.5 billion in loan guarantees for three mammoth solar thin-film photovoltaic (PV) projects in California, the largest ever offered to a single company.

In total, the three projects will have a capacity of 1,330 megawatts (MW) and are expected to create more than 1,400 solar jobs during peak construction.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is offering conditional commitments for $4.5 billion loan guarantees for the project.

First Solar is the world leader in thin-film solar and the largest US solar company. Over 20 million of First Solar's Cadmium Telluride (Cd-Te) thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules will be used.

The company, which is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, will manufacture the modules at a new manufacturing plant that has begun construction in Mesa, Arizona, as well as in its recently expanded manufacturing plant in Perrysburg, Ohio.

DOE's conditional loan guarantees breaks down this way:

  • Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1 project: $680 million
  • Desert Sunlight project: $1.88 billion
  • Topaz Solar project: $1.93 billion

Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1 is a 230 MW project in the Western Mojave Desert, about 80 miles north of Los Angeles, California. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is buying the electricity.

Desert Sunlight is a 550 MW project located on Bureau of Land Management public land in eastern Riverside County, California.
Project construction will take place in two phases; Phase I will generate 300MW, which will be sold to PG&E, and Phase II will generate 250 MW, which will be sold to Southern California Edison.

The $1.88 billion in loans that are partially guaranteed by DOE will be funded by a syndicate of institutional investors and commercial banks led by Goldman Sachs and Citibank as co-lead arranger.

Topaz Solar is also a 550 MW project, located in eastern San Luis Obispo County, California. PG&E is buying the energy. 

The $1.93 billion in loans that are partially guaranteed by DOE will be funded by a syndicate of institutional investors and commercial banks led by the Royal Bank of Scotland. 

Loan Guarantee Offers Surpass $38 Billion

DOE has been criticized over the past year for the slow pace at which it has delivered clean energy loan guarantees. 

Over the last two months, DOE has made up a lot of ground with nearly $2 billion for two CSP projects; $1.4 billion for the largest-ever rooftop solar project; $150 million for solar manufacturing; and numerous others.

DOE says it has issued loans, loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments totaling over $38 billion to support 40 clean energy projects across the U.S.

Reader Comments (1)


Date Posted:
07/01/11 08:18 PM

I'm curious why companies insist on going to California to start up their solar businesses. It would be much more viable to either go to New Mexico or Arizona. At least New Mexico is looking for clean energy companies (always have) and it's cheaper there as cities like Albuquerque and Rio Rancho will give tax breaks not tax increases to businesses who are clean energy....get smart companies....

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