Mammoth Solana Solar Project Half Finished in Arizona

Although we may see many smaller solar plants going forward, the big ones under construction in the US west are moving forward.

The world’s largest solar concentrating plant, under construction in Arizona, is now half-finished and due to come online in the summer of 2013.

Spain-based Abengoa (MCE: ABG) is building the mammoth 280 megawatt (MW) plant with financial partner Capital Riesgo Global, a subsidiary of Banco Santander.

Capital Riesgo Global is investing $125 million in exchange for an equity stake in the $2 billion project. In December, 2010, the US Dept of Energy gave Abengoa a $1.45 billion loan guarantee.

Solana will be the first US solar plant that stores energy and produces dispatchable electricity throughout the day. It will supply electricity to 70,000 homes and is creating 1600 direct solar jobs.

A mirror manufacturing factory opened near Phoenix to supply the 900,000 mirrors for Solana. 70% of the plant’s components are built in the US including mirrors, receiver tubes, and heat transfer fluid.

Abengoa is the only company that builds and operates both tower and parabolic technologies for concentrating solar plants, and has over 1 GW under construction around the world.

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