11 May 2011

DOE offers $90.6m loan guarantee to Cogentrix

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced the offer of a conditional commitment for a $90.6m loan guarantee to Cogentrix of Alamosa LLC. The loan guarantee will support construction of the Alamosa Solar Generating Project, a 30MW net capacity high-concentration solar photovoltaic (HCPV) generation project in south-central Colorado near the city of Alamosa.

Founded in 1983, power generation project developer Cogentrix Energy LLC of Charlotte, NC (a subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group Inc) estimates that the project will create about 75 construction jobs and 10 operations jobs. The project will source over 80% of its components from the US.

“Colorado has long been a leader in the development and deployment of renewable energy,” says Chu. “By deploying an innovative, commercially ready technology at utility scale, the Alamosa Solar Generating Project is increasing the generation of clean, renewable power, creating jobs and strengthening the US economy,” he adds.

“With this significant financial commitment, Cogentrix will have the tools to finish construction on one of the largest and most innovative photovoltaic solar power plants in the country — as well as create a significant number of jobs in the San Luis Valley,” says Senator Mark Udall. “This new solar facility will further solidify Colorado’s lead in clean energy, create good-paying jobs, and provide a much-needed economic boost for the San Luis Valley and all of Colorado,” adds Senator Michael Bennet.

The proposed facility will use HCPV systems designed and made by Amonix Inc of Seal Beach, CA, USA consisting of concentrating optics and multi-junction III-V solar cell panels controlled by a dual-axis tracking system that rotates and tilts the cells throughout the day so the surface of the panel maintains an optimal angle with respect to the sun. According to the project sponsor, the multi-junction solar cells are nearly 40% efficient, or about double that of more traditional PV panels used in areas with high amounts of direct sunlight, such as Alamosa County.

The Alamosa Solar Generating Project will sell all of its electricity output to Public Service Company of Colorado. It will produce about 75,000MW-hrs of renewable energy per year (enough to power more than 6500 homes) and will avoid the emissions of over 43,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Tags: Multi-junction III-V solar cells CPV

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