DESERT SUNLIGHT

Loan Programs Office

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PROJECT SUMMARY

In September 2011, the Department of Energy issued two partial loan guarantees of $1.5 billion in total under the Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP) to finance Desert Sunlight, a 550-MW photovoltaic (PV) solar generation plant.  The facility is jointly owned by NextEra, General Electric, and Sumitomo of America and reached full commercial operations in January 2015. Desert Sunlight is one of the largest PV solar plants in the world.

LPO worked with 14 financial institutions to finance Desert Sunlight. The loan guarantees helped attract new lenders into the utility-scale photovoltaic market and provided them with experience financing utility-scale photovoltaic projects. As of October 2016, 45 additional PV projects larger than 100 MW have been financed without loan guarantees and many of them by banks that LPO had worked with through FIPP.

TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION

Desert Sunlight represents a major milestone in scaling up solar technology as one of the largest completed PV solar projects in the world. The project will deploy First Solar’s commercially-available Series 3 thin-film cadmium-telluride solar modules.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

Desert Sunlight created 550 construction jobs and is expected to support 15 permanent jobs.  It also used approximately 70,000 metric tons of American steel. At project completion, 8.9 million solar modules will have been installed at the project.

CLIMATE BENEFIT

Desert Sunlight is expected to generate 1,060,000 megawatt-hours of clean energy per year while preventing 614,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

 

PROJECT STATISTICS: DESERT SUNLIGHT

PROJECT SUMMARY Owners

NextEra Energy, General Electric & Sumitomo of America

Location

Riverside County, California

FINANCIAL SUMMARY

Loan Program

Title XVII

Loan Type

Partial Loan Guarantee

Loan Amount 1 $1.5 Billion

Issuance Date

September 2011

ENERGY SUMMARY

Operation Status

Operating

Generation Capacity

550 MW

Projected Annual Generation 2

1,060,000 MWh

ECONOMIC IMPACT

Permanent U.S. Jobs Supported

15

U.S. Construction Jobs Supported 3

550
CLIMATE BENEFIT

CO2 Emissions Prevented Annually

614,000 Metric Tons

NOTES

All information up-to-date as of June 2017.

1 Approximate amount of the loan facility approved at closing including principal and any capitalized interest.

2 Calculated using the project's and NREL Technology specific capacity factors. For cases in which NREL's capacity factors do not encompass project's specific design and operation, project specific capacity factors are used.

3  Estimated at the time of closing.

 

PROJECT PHOTOS

Desert Sunlight solar farm
U.S. Department of the Interior
Desert Sunlight solar farm
U.S. Department of the Interior