Abengoa Solar has proclaimed that it has concluded a $1.45 billion funding out of the total $2 billion needed for constructing Solana, the largest solar generating plant in the world, which would generate 250 net MW of solar power.
Abengoa Solar’s CEO, Santiago Seage, has revealed that Solana would be the first big project for the company in the US and this would facilitate strengthening and cementing the company’s relationships with the local community and with the federal and state authorities. He further stated that the company had signed a power purchase agreement with Arizona Public Service, which is the largest electric utility in Arizona for the purchase of the power produced by Solana for a time period of 30 years. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a loan guarantee supporting the project after President Obama’s conditional commitment in July. Seage was very appreciative of DOE’s Loan Programs Office for the support shown in making this project a reality.
The solar plant would be constructed near Gila Bend in Arizona, 70 miles southwest of Phoenix and is expected to power 70,000 homes and prevent CO2 emissions of 475,000 tons every year. Arizona would derive a number of environmental and economic benefits by the construction and functioning of Solana and also further the nation’s goals for independence in energy. This is the first major solar project in the US that has the capacity to store the energy generated by the plant. Solana would be able to store the thermal energy for six hours during, which the energy would be transported wherever needed especially during cloudy days or after sunset. With this storage capacity, Solana would have the capacity to generate electricity even in the evenings to take care of the peak demands during summer because of air-conditioning equipments. The construction and working of the solar plant would also generate essential tax income for the Arizonian State and the local communities while developing a clean green economy.
The company states that this project would generate 85 permanent posts and 1600 to 1700 temporary construction jobs for the local community people and the neighboring states. Also 75% of the supplies and equipments needed for the construction of Solana would be manufactured in the US. Furthermore, a mirror factory would be developed in Arizona, which would supply the mirrors required for the solar project employing around 180 people. Abengoa Solar has entered into a power purchase agreement in California in 2009 end for the supply of electricity produced by a 250 MW CSP trough plant situated in the Mojave Desert almost 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The company also has many more projects under construction in the Southwest region.