Tonopah Solar secures US$737 million loan guarantee from US DOE for its Crescent Dunes CSP project



The US Department of Energy (DOE) advised that it had awarded a US$737 million loan guarantee to Tonopah Solar Energy for its 110MW Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project. Sponsored by SolarReserve, the 100MW CSP solar power tower is said to be the first of its kind in the US and the tallest molten salt tower in the world. The project will be built on land leased from the Bureau of Land Management in Tonopah, Nevada.

The CSP project will generate power with molten salt as the main heat transfer and storage medium for the system. It plans to use 17,500 heliostats to collect the sun’s thermal energy, which will heat the molten salt flowing through the 640-foot tall solar power tower. Solar power produced by the Crescent Dunes project will be sold to the Nevada Power Company, a utility subsidiary of NV Energy.

“The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project will be a showcase for American technology, the most advanced solar thermal technology worldwide,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of SolarReserve. “The support from the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office and our investors has been vital in order to bring this flagship project to realization, creating jobs and providing a platform for exporting this leading solar thermal technology to international markets. In addition, we received important cooperation from the state of Nevada and the federal government, along with tremendous support from Nye County and the town of Tonopah.”

In addition to the DOE loan guarantee, SolarReserve and ACS Cobra both invested in the CSP project. ACS Cobra’s Nevada-based affiliate, Cobra Thermosolar Plants will serve as the project’s general contractor. The project is anticipated to generate over 500,000MWh per year of solar electricity.
“We expect to create more than 600 direct jobs on the project site over the 30 month construction period, and more than 4,300 direct, indirect and induced jobs at companies throughout the US that provide engineering, equipment supply and manufacturing, transportation and other value-added services. Orders and activities are already proceeding in more than twenty states across the country,” Smith added.

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