BrightSource Energy has closed financing for its record-breaking 392MW Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California. The final round of funding for Ivanpah, which will be the world’s largest solar project when it is completed in 2013, saw BrightSource secure US$1.6 billion in guaranteed loans from the Department of Energy (DOE) and a US$168-million equity investment from Google.
Ivanpah is made up of three separate solar thermal power plants and is situated on 3,500 acres of federal land managed by the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Around two-thirds of the power generated from the systems will be sold to Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), with Southern California Edison purchasing the other third. State and federal permits for the project were received in September and October 2010, respectively.
“The DOE’s loan guarantee program is playing a vital role in realising our nation’s clean energy and economic goals,” BrightSource’s chief financial officer, Jack Jenkins-Stark, said. “In partnership with the DOE, NRG, Bechtel and now Google, we’re building at Ivanpah cost-effective, environmentally-friendly and reliable solar power plants. We’re thrilled to work with two of America’s leading utilities – PG&E and Southern California Edison – to provide their customers with clean, reliable and cost-effective solar power at a meaningful scale.”
In October 2010, NRG Solar was unveiled as Ivanpah’s lead investor, committing US$300 million towards the project. The date also coincided with BrightSource’s engineering partner, Bechtel, starting work on the mammoth development, which will nearly double the amount of solar thermal electricity produced in the US.
David Crane, NRG’s president and CEO, added, “Ivanpah is a glowing example of truly sustainable energy – a project that all at once will ensure cleaner air, help in the fight against climate change, drive down the cost of large scale concentrating solar technology and take California one giant step closer toward its goal of producing 33% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.”
“With this investment, we’re helping to deploy the first commercial plant of a potentially transformative solar technology able to deliver clean energy at scale,” said Rick Needham, director of green business operations at Google. “Ivanpah will be the largest solar power tower project in the world, able to produce clean electricity at the highest efficiency of any solar thermal plant. We hope it can serve as a proof point and spur further investment in this exciting technology.”