DOE Finalizes $90.6 Million Loan Guarantee To Cogentrix
30 megawatt (MW) HCPV power generation facility planned for Colorado
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced that the Department of Energy finalized a $90.6 million loan guarantee to Cogentrix of Alamosa, LLC (Cogentrix). The loan guarantee will support the Alamosa Solar Generating Project, a 30 megawatt (MW) High Concentration Photovoltaic (HCPV) power generation facility that will generate clean, emissions-free power in Colorado. The project, located in south-central Colorado near the city of Alamosa, represents one of the first utility-scale, high concentration photovoltaic energy generation facilities in the nation and, when completed, the largest of its kind in the world. Cogentrix estimates the project will support up to 100 construction jobs.
“President Obama has spoken about the need to continue creating the jobs of the future," said Secretary Chu. “And that’s exactly what this investment does – putting Americans to work right away and helping position us to win the global race for the clean energy industries of tomorrow."
The proposed facility will use innovative HCPV systems consisting of concentrating optics and multi-junction solar cell panels that are controlled by a dual-axis tracking system. The tracking system rotates and tilts the cells throughout the day so the surface of the solar panel maintains an optimal angle with respect to the sun. Cogentrix estimates the multi-junction solar cells are nearly 40 % efficient, which is about double that of more traditional PV panels, making concentrated photovoltaic technology advantageous in areas with high amounts of direct sunlight, such as Alamosa County. The facility is expected to produce enough clean renewable energy per year to power more than 6,500 homes and will avoid the emissions of over 43,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. The Alamosa Solar Generating Project is supported by a power purchase agreement (PPA), which is a long-term agreement to sell the power it will generate. Under the project’s PPA, the Public Service Company of Colorado will buy the power generated by the solar facility for the next 20 years. The project is also expected to source more than 80 % of its components from the United States.
The Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office administers three separate programs: the Title XVII Section 1703 and Section 1705 loan guarantee programs, and the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program. The loan guarantee programs support the deployment of commercial technologies along with innovative technologies that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions, while ATVM supports the development of advanced vehicle technologies. To date, the Department has issued loans, loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totalling nearly $40 billion to support more than 40 clean energy projects across the United States, including several of the world’s largest solar generation facilities, three geothermal projects, the world’s largest wind farm, and the nation’s first new nuclear power plant in three decades.