Just another day at the DOE Loan guarantee office -- providing $4.5 billion to three massive solar farms. The award will allow First Solar to supply approximately 20 million solar panels to the three projects from U.S.-based manufacturing sites. Yes, that's 20 million panels.

Any complaints about the speed of the Loan Guarantee program might have been squelched by the torrid pace of the series of loans provided in the last two months. (Complaints about the loan guarantee process remain.)

First Solar is today's winner with the DOE offering:

  • A conditional commitment for a $680 million loan guarantee to support the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1 project
  • Conditional commitments for partial loan guarantees of $1.88 billion in loans to support the Desert Sunlight project
  • And conditional commitments for partial loan guarantees of $1.93 billion in loans to support the Topaz Solar project

First Solar is sponsoring all three projects and will provide Cd-Te thin-film solar PV modules for the projects from a new manufacturing plant that has begun construction in Mesa, Arizona, as well as from its recently expanded manufacturing plant in Perrysburg, Ohio. 

The company expects that the projects will create a combined 1,400 jobs in California during peak construction.

AV Solar Ranch 1 is a 230-megawatt project that will be located in the Antelope Valley area of the Western Mojave Desert, approximately 80 miles north of Los Angeles, California. The project is expected to generate 350 construction jobs and will feature a utility-scale deployment of innovative inverters with voltage regulation and monitoring technologies that are new to the U.S. market.  Power from the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1 project will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric Company. 

The Desert Sunlight is a 550-megawatt site expected to generate 550 jobs during construction. It will be located on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in eastern Riverside County, California. The Desert Sunlight project is expected to use 8.8 million First Solar modules. Project construction will take place in two phases; Phase I will generate 300 megawatts of power, which will be sold to the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, while Phase II will generate 250 MW of power, which will be sold to Southern California Edison.  The $1.88 billion in loans that are partially guaranteed by the DOE will be funded by a syndicate of institutional investors and commercial banks led by lead lender and lender-applicant, Goldman Sachs Lending Partners.

Topaz Solar is another 550-megawatt project expected to generate 500 jobs during construction and will be located in eastern San Luis Obispo County, California. The Topaz Solar project will use over 8.5 million modules. The $1.93 billion in loans that are partially guaranteed by the DOE will be funded by a syndicate of institutional investors and commercial banks led by lead lender and lender-applicant, The Royal Bank of Scotland, which submitted the project under the Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP).

Other recent loan guarantees include $2 billion for two 250-megawatt CSP projects and $737 million for a CSP plus thermal storage project.

Tags: antelope valley, cadmium telluride, cdte, doe, first solar, fslr, loan guarantees, pv, solar, solar power, solar power plants, topaz, utility-scale solar