Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), the world’s largest producer of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, and Zachry Holdings, Inc., a leading U.S. EPC provider, have been selected by Sempra Generation to design and construct the Mesquite Solar 1 project in Arizona.
Department of Energy Offers Conditional Loan Guarantee Commitment for Innovative Photovoltaic Solar Power Plant
Project Expected to Create up to 300 Construction Jobs in Arizona and Employ Innovative Technologies that Increase Reliability and Energy Production
Washington D.C. — U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the offer of a conditional commitment for a $359.1 million loan guarantee to Mesquite Solar 1, LLC to support the development of a photovoltaic solar generating project. The optimized 150 megawatt (MW) alternating current (AC) photovoltaic (PV) solar generation project is sponsored by Sempra Generation and will be located in Maricopa County, Arizona, approximately 45 miles west of Phoenix. Sempra Generation estimates the project will create up to 300 construction jobs and 7-10 full time operating jobs.
“Taking advantage of the clean, renewable power in places like Arizona will help strengthen our nation’s position as a leader in solar power,” said Secretary Chu. “This innovative photovoltaic facility creates new jobs while producing greater efficiencies that will help make solar energy a more viable and reliable source of power in the future.”
Mesquite Solar 1 will be one of the first large-scale utility PV power plants in the U.S. to use U.S.-manufactured innovative transformerless and liquid cooled inverter technology, which allows for significant improvements in energy output, a decrease in operating costs and improved reliability. The facility will avoid the emissions of over 193,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions of over 38,000 vehicles. The project is anticipated to generate nearly 350,000 megawatt hours of electricity in the first full year of production, or enough to power over 31,000 homes. Power from the project will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric Company.
The Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office administers three separate programs: the Title XVII Section 1703 and Section 1705 loan guarantee programs, and the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program. The loan guarantee programs support the deployment of commercial technologies along with innovative technologies that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions, while ATVM supports the development of advanced vehicle technologies. Under all three programs, DOE has issued loans, loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling over $33 billion to support 33 clean energy projects across the U.S. The program’s 18 generation projects produce over 28 million megawatt-hours annually, enough to power over two million homes. To date, the program has committed over $10 billion in loan guarantees to solar generation projects, including four of the world’s largest solar projects. DOE has also issued conditional commitments or loan guarantees to support numerous other projects, including three solar equipment manufacturing plants, two geothermal projects, the world’s largest wind farm and the nation’s first new nuclear power plant in three decades. For more information, please visit the Loan Programs Office.
The renewable electricity generated at Mesquite Solar 1 will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric under a 150 MW (AC), 20-year power purchase agreement pending California Public Utilities Commission approval. Construction on Mesquite Solar 1 is slated to begin in mid-2011, with completion by 2013. The solar facility will create more than 200 local jobs for construction and installation.
Backed by Suntech’s power output warranty, the Mesquite Solar 1 solar plant is projected to generate more than 350,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually – enough to power roughly 50,000 homes for decades. That clean electricity could offset roughly 200,000 tons of carbon emissions each year, similar to taking about 40,000 cars off the road or planting 20,000,000 trees. The project utilizes solar panel technology that does not require water to produce electricity.
Zachry will oversee the installation and integration of more than 800,000 Suntech multi-crystalline solar panels at the site. With 85 years of experience, Zachry has managed the engineering and construction of numerous industrial plants across the U.S., typically coal and gas-fired generation projects. The leading EPC provider is now diversifying its energy portfolio of projects to include solar and other types of renewable energy.
“We are excited about continuing our relationship with Sempra and working with Suntech – the world’s largest producer of solar panels – to create hundreds of green jobs and promote sustainable economic development,” said Steve Dedman, senior vice president of Zachry Holdings, Inc. “When completed this will be one of the largest solar plants in the world. Our participation in this very significant project signals Zachry’s commitment to the solar market, and specifically utility-scale solar generation.”
The solar power plant will be constructed about 30 miles west of Suntech’s new Goodyear, Arizona, manufacturing facility, which will supply a portion of the solar panels for the Sempra Generation project. In addition, Suntech’s technical team, working closely with Zachry, will support the execution of the project to meet Sempra Generation’s power production expectations.
We’re thrilled to work with Sempra Generation and Zachry to realize one of the world’s largest solar projects just down the road from our U.S. manufacturing base in Goodyear,” said Steven Chan, President of Suntech America. “This landmark project further substantiates the ongoing expansion of our local manufacturing operations, which has just expanded to a second production shift and 78 employees, up from 40 employees when it commenced operations in October 2010. We will continue to grow our U.S. footprint and work with local partners such as Zachry to facilitate the growth of the U.S. solar industry.”
Sempra Generation, a subsidiary of San Diego-based Sempra Energy, operates and maintains a fleet of natural gas-fueled power plants, and is a leading developer of solar and wind facilities that serve U.S. markets.
“Large, multi-phase solar projects like the 700-MW Mesquite Solar energy complex are at the heart of our renewable strategy,” said Jeffrey W. Martin, president and chief executive officer of Sempra Generation. “That’s why this first 150-MW phase is so important, and why we are pleased to partner with Suntech and Zachry as we begin developing this world-class solar complex.”
Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s Founder, Chairman, and CEO said, “This project demonstrates that the solar industry is offering a competitive, fast, reliable and scalable solution for utility-scale electricity generation. With continued investments in R&D and production capacity, we are targeting to drive solar past retail grid parity in half of world markets by 2015.”
About Zachry Holdings, Inc.
Zachry Holdings, Inc. is a privately held business engaged primarily in the engineering, construction, and maintenance of large industrial projects and facilities in the U. S. Based in San Antonio, Texas, the company participates in a wide range of the energy sector including traditional and renewable power, petrochemical, refining, forest products, and nuclear. Zachry has offices throughout the U.S. and safely employees over 15,000 craft and professional staff. Visit ZHI.com for more information. Zachry – It Takes a Force.
Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP) produces industry-leading solar products for residential, commercial, industrial, and utility applications. With regional headquarters in China, Switzerland, and the United States, and gigawatt-scale manufacturing worldwide, Suntech has delivered more than 13,000,000 photovoltaic panels to thousands of customers in more than eighty countries. Suntech’s pioneering R&D creates customer-centric innovations that are driving solar to grid parity against fossil fuels. Suntech’s mission is to provide everyone with reliable access to nature’s cleanest and most abundant energy source.
For more information about our people and products visit: http://www.suntech-power.com