Cleveland, April 19, 2011 — Solar Trust of America, a industrial solar solutions company, announced in a press teleconference with Secretary Steven Chu and Governor Jerry Brown that the U.S. Department of Energy offered a conditional commitment for a $2.1 billion loan guarantee to support the construction of two 242 MW concentrated solar thermal power plants.
The conditional commitment was offered in accordance with the DOE's Loan Guarantee Program under Title XVII of the 2005 Energy Policy Act. It marks a financial milestone in the realization of the Blythe project.
This first phase of the Blythe Solar Power Project is expected to create a total of 7,500 construction, operations and supply chain jobs throughout the U.S., including more than 1,000 direct construction jobs in Riverside County, where the December 2010 unemployment rate was 14.2 percent.
The Blythe Solar Power Project will use parabolic trough concentrating solar thermal technology. Large mirrors will reflect the sun's heat on to tubes of oil, which will be used to boil water in a closed system. The steam generated will turn turbines to create electricity, and most of the water will be recycled back into the system.
The completed Blythe Solar Power Project will have a nominal generating capacity of 1,000 MW and will comprise four units having 242 MW net generating capacity (250 MW nominal generating capacity) each.
The conditional commitment applies to the first two units, which together will produce 484 MW.
The 1,000 MW facility will deliver enough electricity annually to power more than 300,000 single-family homes.
The facility is dry-cooled using large fans, and will consume 90 percent less water than a traditional wet-cooled solar facility of this size. Each 242 MW unit will use as much water as a typical municipal golf course.
The completed 1,000 MW facility will deliver almost ten percent of the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005's 10 GW goal for renewable energy generation on public lands by 2015.