BrightSource's 392 MW (370 MW net) Ivanpah plant received a "Final Record of Decision" from the BLM/Dept. of Interior.

BrightSource has already received approval from the California Energy Commission, and a conditional commitment for a loan guarantee from the DOE.

The Fed has committed to $1.37B. Assuming that would cover 80% of the debt (and debt would cover 80% of the project), now they just need to secure another $300M in debt funding from the investment banks, and $400M in sponsor equity. 

This follows just two days after the Dept. of the Interior approved two other solar projects, Chevron's Lucerne PV project and Tessera/Stirling's Imperial Valley CSP plant (more details in the original article below). 

For complete details on all the CSP projects under development in the U.S., and their regulatory status, see the Greentech Media CSP Project Tracker.


Today, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar approved the first large-scale solar energy plants ever built on federal land.

Two plants were approved: a 709 MW CSP plant named Imperial Valley, and Chevron Energy's 45 MW Lucerne PV project.

The official Department of the Interior press release can be found here.

Recently, there have been many "final" approvals for solar plants, so it may be hard to tell when a project is really "shovel-ready."

In this case, Imperial is shovel-ready.  It just needs money (if Tessera hasn't secured financing already).

Imperial has a signed PPA, which has been approved by the CPUC. The project has received a final decision from the California Energy Commission.  And now with the "Final Record of Decision" from the BLM/Dept. of Interior, all that is left to do is convince the banks to lend them a billion dollars and start construction.

In order to help keep tabs on the 40+ CSP projects under development in the U.S., we have put together a project tracker, and we will now highlight in yellow the projects, such as Imperial, that have received all the necessary approvals/permits to break ground.

Click here to view the updated CSP Project Tracker

We have also highlighted in red text the expected upcoming approvals, which include:

- BrightSource's Ivanpah: Final Record of Decision from the BLM (today perhaps?)

- Tessera/Stirling's Calico: Final Record of Decision from the BLM (mid-October), CEC Final Decision (end of October)

And for those left-brained readers, here are the detailed metrics on the Imperial Valley plant.  Right-brained readers can skip to the pretty pictures at the bottom.

Project Stats:

Project name:             Imperial Valley Solar
Developer:                  Tessera Solar
Manufacturer:             Stirling Energy System
Capacity:                   709 MW-ac
Acres:                       6,360 (that works out to 9 acres/MW)
Electricity Purchaser: SDG&E
Estimated cost:          $910 million for the first 300 MW ($3.03/W-ac)
Capacity Factor:         25%
Solar-to-Electricity efficiency: 23%
Electricity output:        648 GWh/yr for the first phase (300 MW)

From the CPUC RPS specifications
Efficiency based on Phase I with 1.1 mm sq meters of mirrors, located at a DNI of 2,582 kWh/m^2/day