Huge Solar Panel Projects are being planned in the USA by solar developers and utilities as solar panel prices have fallen by 20-30% in the second quarter of 2011 as solar panel manufacturers are faced with oversupply and inventory issues.Note building both coal and nuclear power plants in the US has become increasingly difficult with pollution and climate change issues coming to the fore.While natural gas is getting a boost due to cheap shale gas discoveries,solar energy is picking up pace due to the government support in the form of DOE Loan guarantees and Treasury Grant programs like 1705.Recently two very large solar panel projects have been announced or are in the process over the next 3-4 years.
NRG Energy and Prologis with DOE Loan Guarantee and Bank of America $1.4 Billion Debt Finance
NRG Energy has been one of the largest developers of solar energy in the USA with a number of large scale utility projects using both solar PV and solar thermal technologies.NRG Solar which is a wholly owned subsidiary of NRG Energy has almost 2000 MW of solar energy capacity being developed with almost half being constructed.NRG has aggressively bought solar panel projects from First Solar and has also tied up with Brightsource Energy acquiring an equity interest in the 392 MW solar thermal power plant being built by the company.NRG Energy has now turned its attention to the commercial rooftop market tying up with warehouse operator Prologis and Bank of America to build 733 MW of projects spread across 28 states in the USA.The company has also got a loan guarantee of $1.2 billion from DOE which will further improve the returns from these projects.This is the largest distributed solar project in the world right now and shows a template for further such solar projects in the future by leading energy providers and large rooftop owners.NRG Energy has been actively increasing its renewable energy portfolio recently acquiring wind energy farm developer Mountain Energy cheaply.Alongwith NextEra Energy,this energy generator has been the most proactive in the renewable energy area.
National Solar to build Twenty 20 MW farms in a single place
National Solar a developer of solar farms is shortlisting sites to build a huge 400 MW solar farm in twenty segments of 20 MW each.Note US Solar Installers/developers are increasing as solar energy industry keeps on growing at almost a 100% growth rate.While a number of established solar developers have been acquired by upstream large solar panel companies,newer ones keep popping up.Note the cost of the project is around $3.5/watt which is the same as that being estimated by NRG Energy.The Solar System costs have declined dramatically in the last 2-3 years by around 35-40% from around $5.5-6/watt to $3.5/watt at present.With solar panel prices expected to keep declining at around 10% annually expect more such solar panel projects to be announced.
National Solar Power has announced that seven counties in three states “are in serious contention” to be chosen as the site of the huge project. They are: Gadsden, Hardee, Osceola and Suwannee in Florida; Sumter and Tatnall in Georgia; and North Carolina’s Guilford County. A final decision is expected within the next month.
The criteria laid out by the company for the site of its solar project include finding adequate areas of undeveloped land, receiving enough business, government and community support, and qualified workers, and appropriate economic development and tax incentives.
The 400 MW photovoltaic project is expected to be comprised of 20 20 MW solar farms, which will each be spread across 200 acres. National Solar Power says the generated energy will be enough to power around 32,000 homes.
First Solar has more than 1 GW of Solar Farms getting DOE Loan Guarantees
While Solar Panel stocks have been getting massively hit ,First Solar has not seen some of the massive drops mainly as 3 of its large solar farms may get big DOE Loan Guarantees which will allow it to easily sail through one of the worst times in the solar panel industry.Note First Solar has 3 projects getting the DOE Loan – $680 million for the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch in Los Angeles County, $1.88 billion for the Desert Sunlight project in Riverside County and $1.93 billion in loans for the Topaz Solar project in San Luis Obispo County.
These Three solar farms will generate around 1330 MW of solar energy when completed and will make First Solar the biggest solar installer in the US.Two of these solar panel projects have 550 MW of solar capacity making them the biggest solar panel plants in the world.