Taking a page from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the California Energy Commission gave its approval for three loans, which total to more than $10.5 million, to three California-based PV companies: Stion, Soliant Energy, and Energy Innovations. The low-interest loans fall under California’s Clean Energy Business Financing Program (CEBFP), which is supplying around US$30 million in federal stimulus money to businesses that create or preserve clean energy manufacturing jobs in the state.
The loans range from $50,000 to $5 million at a 2.75% interest rate and were available for pursuit by companies who produced energy efficiency or renewable energy products, components, systems and technologies or for projects with biomethane gas being made from biomass and directly injected into natural gas transmission lines.
Forty four companies presented themselves for the loans, with only three PV companies being chosen based on job creation/retention, energy saved, leveraged financing and economic adjustments for manufacturing job loss. All submissions were reviewed by the CEBFP and sent to the FDCs through the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.
Stion will receive $5 million for the expansion of its manufacturing capacity of its CIGS thin-film solar modules at the company’s San Jose location. The total cost of the expansion is $22.2 million, and Stion will be supplying the rest of the financing needed. It’s expected that by December of 2011, Stion’s annual capacity should increase to 140MW.
Energy Innovations was granted $3,493,797 to buy equipment for its new factory and headquarters in Poway, California, with the loan providing almost half of the $7,038,601 cost of the project. By the end of 2011, the company will have an annual capacity of 60MW.
The $2,089,711 that Soliant Energy was endowed will go toward obtaining equipment for its concentrated PV solar panel factory in San Bernardino. The factory is expected to have an annual capacity of 40MW on its completion in October 2011.
In addition, Calisolar was presented with a $5 million CEBFP loan at the August 25 business meeting.
The use of the loans by CEBFP is to be used strictly for the purchase and installation of equipment with each company agreeing to pay back the loan within seven years from the date the new manufacturing equipment is installed.
“California is investing funds from the federal America Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to rebuild our shrinking manufacturing sector, helping it retool for a new, more robust, and competitive green economy that can put Californians back to work,” said Karen Douglas, energy commission chairman. “In this continuing economic downturn, the Clean Energy Business Financing Program provides money to local green companies unable to access capital from lenders and banks.”
For further information about the CEBFP program, click here.