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Building a Clean Energy Economy

The six solar companies listed below help illustrate the success of the 1603 Treasury Grant Program (Payments for Specified Energy Property in Lieu of Tax Credits).  These companies represent billions of dollars of capital that have been unlocked and thousands of American jobs.  Some companies have secured financing through the 1603 program, others through the Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program, and some through both.  Together, these companies represent real jobs, real people and a strong foundation for building a clean energy economy.

Abengoa Solar

Abengoa Solar develops and applies solar technologies to combat climate change and to assure a sustainable development through the applications of concentrating solar power and photovoltaic technologies developed by the company. Abengoa, based in Spain, is currently developing several solar facilities in the U.S., including the Solana Power plant in Arizona for which the Department of Energy has offered a $1.45 billion loan guarantee. The Solana project is on private lands and was permitted after a favorable biological opinion from the Fish & Wildlife Service and is expected to create up to 1,785 jobs.  Construction crews are installing 100 solar collector foundations per day. 

BrightSource Energy Inc.

BrightSource Energy Inc. provides clean, reliable and low cost solar energy for utility and industrial companies worldwide.  Headquartered in Oakland, California, BrightSource Energy is a privately held company with operations in the United States, Israel, and Australia. The com¬pany is actively developing more than 4 gigawatts (GW) of solar power projects in Southwestern states – enough to power 920,000 homes. Brightsource Energy has one project permitted under Interior’s “fast track” program, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System.  Construction on the 370 MW San Bernardino project has already begun and the project will create more than 1,000 new jobs at the peak of construction with an estimated $650 million in worker earnings over the 30 year life of the plant. .  The company is poised to secure funding through the 1603 program and approximately $1.37 billion through DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program.

First Solar

First Solar is the world’s largest manufacturer of thin film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules, and the industry cost leader.  Over the past two years, in part because of the Treasury Grant Program and the DOE loan guarantee program, First Solar has invested approximately $750 million in the U.S. to develop North America’s largest solar project development portfolio.  The company’s 2,200 MW pipeline of advanced stage, utility-scale solar projects will drive infrastructure investments in excess of $6 billion over the next few years.  Earlier today, First Solar added to this figure when the company announced a new power purchase agreement signed with Southern California Edison (SCE) for a 250 megawatt project on public land near Primm, Nevada.  Building these power plants will employ approximately 2,000 people for three years.  By helping to create a market in the U.S., these policies are also driving investment in manufacturing.  First Solar’s high tech manufacturing will employee 2,300 to support these projects.  In order to meet new demand, at the end of last year, First Solar announced plans to build a second U.S. manufacturing facility—a four line factory that will add over 500 new associates.  Combined this would bring domestic employment, both direct and subcontracted, to over 4,000 over the next three years.

Solar Reserve

SolarReserve (Tonopah Solar Energy, LLC), headquartered in Santa Monica, California, is a solar energy project development company and holds the exclusive worldwide license to the molten salt, solar power tower technology that allows for energy storage capabilities. Since its formation in late 2007, SolarReserve’s team has assembled a development portfolio of more than 25 projects featuring its licensed solar power technology with potential output of more than 3,000 megawatts in the United States and Europe. SolarReserve's Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, which is permitted under Interior’s “fast track” program, is expected to create up to 550 new jobs and generate enough electricity to power up to 75,000 homes.

Solar Trust of America, LLC

Solar Trust of America, LLC (Solar Millennium, LLC) is an integrated solar industrial solutions company.  Formed in August 2009, Solar Trust of America is actively engaged in the southwestern U.S. in the development and construction of utility-size solar thermal power plants. The company currently has multiple Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants in advanced stages of development in California and Nevada, including the 1,000 megawatt (MW) Blythe Solar Power Project in California, which will be the world’s largest solar power plant.  The Blythe project, along with Solar Trust’s 500MW Amargosa Solar Power Project in Nevada, was permitted under Interior’s “fast track” program, which will make these state-of-the-art facilities eligible to receive Recovery Act funds. The first 500MW phase of the Blythe project is poised to secure funding this year through the 1603 program and approximately $2 billion through DOE’s loan guarantee program. Together, the Blythe and Amargosa projects will power up to 450,000 homes and businesses each year and create up to 2,300 new jobs. Combined, Solar Trust is developing a pipeline of over 2,000MW on BLM lands in California and Nevada.  

SunPower Corporation

Based in Silicon Valley, SunPower Corporation is a 25-year old, publicly-listed global company that designs, manufactures and delivers the planet’s most powerful solar technology broadly available today. The company has the largest installed base of U.S. residential and commercial solar systems and designs, builds and maintains utility-scale solar power plants, including the California Valley Solar Ranch in San Luis Obispo County which is currently going through the permitting process. The Energy Department has provided the project a draft term sheet, a significant milestone in the process leading to a conditional loan guarantee commitment. SunPower also benefitted from the federal stimulus package utilizing the clean tech manufacturing investment tax credit for a new solar panel manufacturing facility in Milpitas, California. The plant, currently under construction, will initially create 100 jobs. Energy Department funding helped with research and development supporting the new design of the manufacturing equipment ordered for the facility.  SunPower’s current U.S. employment is about 1,000 direct jobs.