DOE guarantees $1.187 billion loan for California solar project
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the offer of a conditional commitment for a $1.187 billion loan guarantee to support the California Valley Solar Ranch project, sponsored by SunPower Corp. The project, which is being built in San Luis Obispo County, Calif., includes the construction of a 250 MW ac photovoltaic (PV) solar generating facility and associated infrastructure. California Valley Solar Ranch is expected to create 350 jobs during construction and 10 to 15 permanent jobs. The project is also expected to avoid over 430,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually and produce enough to power for nearly 60,000 homes.
"The efficiencies created by the California Valley Solar Ranch project will help lower the cost of solar power and encourage more utility-scale solar deployment," Chu said.
California Valley Solar Ranch will be the largest utility-scale PV project in the U.S. to use tracking technology and an innovative monitoring system that will improve annual output by approximately 25% compared with traditional fixed PV installations. The project will utilize single-axis trackers controlled by a wireless tracker monitoring and control (TMAC) system to orient the PV modules toward the sun and maximize solar collection. The TMAC monitoring system receives real-time weather updates so the solar array can be stowed in harsh weather conditions to preserve the life of the solar modules. Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the largest utility in California, will purchase all the output from the project.
The U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE), through the Loan Programs Office, has issued loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling over $19 billion to support 21 clean energy projects. The program’s 10 generation projects will produce over 23 million MWh, enough to power over two million homes.