In December 2010, the Department of Energy issued a $1.45 billion loan guarantee to finance Solana, a 250-MW parabolic trough concentrating solar power (CSP) plant with an innovative thermal energy storage system. Solana represents the first deployment of this thermal energy storage technology in the United States and is one of the largest projects of its kind in the world. It started commercial operations in October 2013.
Solana uses the first U.S. application of an innovative thermal energy storage system with molten salt as the energy storage media, combined with parabolic trough concentrating solar power (CSP) technology. While the CSP technology is similar to technology that was initially used in the 1980s, Solana is the largest energy storage project and the first in the United States to store over 1000 MWh of energy that is dispatchable on demand without sunlight. The project spans roughly three square miles and consists of over 32,000 collector assemblies—each comprised of 28 curved mirrors—to efficiently concentrate the sun’s energy into a heat transfer fluid. A synthetic oil-based heat transfer fluid heats water to produce steam, which drives a conventional steam turbine generator.
Solana created 1,700 construction jobs and is expected to support 60 permanent jobs. Additional economic impacts include an estimated $300 million to $400 million in 30-year tax revenues and more than $1 billion in gross state revenue.
Solana is expected to generate 900,000 megawatt-hours of clean energy per year and prevent 480,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Additionally, Solana minimizes its use of Arizona’s valuable water supply by using 75% less water for solar energy production than its previous agriculture designation.
Atlantica Yield & Liberty Interactive Corporation
Gila Bend, Arizona
Loan Amount 1
Projected Annual Generation 2
Permanent U.S. Jobs Supported
U.S. Construction Jobs Supported 3
CO2 Emissions Prevented Annually
480,000 Metric Tons
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.