Washington D.C., September 12, 2011 — U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the Department of Energy finalized a $90.6 million loan guarantee to Cogentrix of Alamosa, LLC.
The loan guarantee will support the Alamosa Solar Generating Project, a 30 MW High Concentration Photovoltaic power generation facility that will generate renewable 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. Cogentrix estimates the project will support up to 100 construction jobs.
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 percent 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, which is a long-term agreement to sell the power it will generate.
Under the project’s PPA, the Public Service Co. 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 percent of its components from the United States.