Solar Plant_AZ_Agua Caliente_PG&E_NRG Solar_First Solar_290mw

NRG snaps up Arizona solar plant following $937m loan guarantee award

US developer completes $800m equity investment in First Solar’s Agua Caliente photovoltaic project

Agua Caliente _04.2011 FINAL

By BusinessGreen staff

NRG Energy completed its purchase of the Agua Caliente Solar project last week after the Department of Energy agreed a $937m loan guarantee package to fund construction at the Arizona site.

The 290MW photovoltaic solar plant in Yuma County, Arizona will use thin film solar panels manufactured by First Solar, its previous owners, whose sale of the project to NRG was contingent on the confirmation of the loan guarantee. The deal was set up after the government agreed to the loan support in principle in January.

The DoE duly confirmed the award at the end of last week, allowing New Jersey-based NRG to complete the $800m purchase of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic project currently under construction.

The project is also the first in the US to use fault ride-through and dynamic voltage regulation smart-grid technologies, which according to the developer should improve the reliability and predictability of the electricity produced.

“Agua Caliente demonstrates the extraordinary progress the US has made to achieving energy independence through public-private collaboration and technological innovation,” said Tom Doyle, chief executive of NRG Solar, in a statement. “The sheer scale of the project will also help drive developments needed to deploy even larger and more efficient clean-energy resources in the future.”

Work at Agua Caliente began during the second half of last year and the project is expected to begin supplying power to the grid in early 2014.

NRG’s solar subsidiary, NRG Solar, now has more than 2,000MW of photovoltaic and solar thermal projects under development or in construction across the south-western United States. The portfolio includes a share in the Ivanpah solar thermal power plant in California and a 2MW array at FedExField, home of the Washington Redskins.

The DoE has now handed out loan guarantees totalling over $40bn to support 42 clean energy projects across the US, including $16bn to support 15 solar projects.

But despite its success the fund is set to expire next month, potentially leaving large-scale clean energy projects reliant on private funds alone

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