U.S. Offers SunPower Conditional $1.2 Billion Guarantee for Solar Project

SunPower Corp. (SPWRA), a California solar panel maker and project developer, received conditional commitment for a $1.2 billion U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee for a 250-megawatt plant in southern California.

Construction on the California Valley Solar Ranch plant is expected to begin in the second half of the year, contingent on permitting and financing, San Jose, California-based SunPower said today in a statement.

The project will use solar panels made by SunPower. It is expected to begin generating electricity in late 2011 and to reach full capacity in 2013.

NRG Solar, a unit of the independent power producer NRG Energy Inc. (NRG), will finance and own the project.

SunPower lost 12 cents, or less than 1 percent, to close today at $16.27 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co., California’s largest utility, will buy the power from the project.

The Energy Department said it has offered loan guarantees, or conditional commitments for loan guarantees, totaling more than $19 billion to support 21 clean energy projects.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ehren Goossens in New York at egoossens1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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