Saturday was a great day for solar energy: the DOE offered two conditional loan guarantee commitments:

  • $1.45 billion loan guarantee to Abengoa Solar Inc. for the construction and start-up of a concentrating solar power (CSP) generating facility in Solana, Arizona and a
  • $400 million loan guarantee to Abound Solar Manufacturing for the assembly of state-of-the-art thin-film, cadmium-telluride solar panels.

ABENGOA SOLAR: Once operational, the CSP plant will add 250 MW of capacity to the electrical grid using parabolic trough solar collectors and a six-hour thermal energy storage system (the first of its kind in the United States). The plant which will be about 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, will use mirrors to direct sunlight onto receiver tubes that will heat molten salt fluid to over 700°F. The system’s heat will turn steam turbines and the thermal energy storage can provide power during cloudy days and evenings. The plant will supply power to approximately 70,000 homes through a long-term PPA with Arizona Public Service Company.


Abengoa Solar estimates the project will employ approximately 1,600 workers during construction, of which 80 will be permanent jobs. As an added benefit, two assembly factories will be constructed on the site, and a new mirror manufacturing facility will be needed to supply more than 900,000 mirrors to the plant.


ABOUND SOLAR: A $400 million conditional loan guarantee has been offered to Abound Solar Manufacturing for the assembly of state-of-the-art thin-film, cadmium-telluride solar panels. The assembly will take place in in Longmont, Colorado, and Tipton, Indiana. Abound estimates that the project will create approximately 2,000 jobs during construction, as well as 1,500 permanent jobs.

Abound’s manufacturing technology was jointly developed by NREL, Colorado State University, and the National Science Foundation and deposits thin films of cadmium-telluride onto glass panels. This technology reduces overall product costs and provides better film quality, efficiency and reliability. Abound anticipates that it will produce millions of solar panels annually (enough panels to support up to 840 MW of new solar power per year) for less than it costs to produce crystalline silicon modules.