9 September 2011

DOE finalizes $90.6m Cogentrix loan guarantee 

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu says that the Department of Energy (DOE) has finalized a $90.6m loan guarantee to Cogentrix of Alamosa LLC. Announced as an offer of a conditional commitment in May, the loan guarantee will support the Alamosa Solar Generating Project, a 30MW high-concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) power generation facility in south-central Colorado near the city of Alamosa.

The project represents one of the first utility-scale HCPV energy generation facilities in the USA and, when completed, the largest of its kind in the world, it is reckoned. 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 support up to 100 construction jobs.

“On Thursday, President Obama spoke about the need to continue creating the jobs of the future,” says Secretary Chu. “That’s exactly what today’s investment does – putting Americans to work right away and helping position us to win the global race for the clean energy industries of tomorrow,” he adds.

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 solar cell panels controlled by a dual-axis tracking system that 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 that the multi-junction solar cells are nearly 40% efficient (about double that of more traditional PV panels), making CPV technology advantageous in areas with high amounts of direct sunlight, such as Alamosa County.

The facility is expected to produce enough energy per year to power more than 6500 homes and will avoid the emissions of over 43,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, it is reckoned. The project is supported by a power purchase agreement (PPA), under which the Public Service Company of Colorado will buy the power generated by the facility for the next 20 years. The project is also expected to source more than 80% of its components from the USA.

Tags: Multi-junction III-V solar cells CPV

Visit: www.lpo.energy.gov

Visit: www.cogentrix.com

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