Abengoa Gets $1.2 Billion Loan Guarantee for Solar Project

Abengoa SA, a Spanish power-equipment maker, received a $1.2 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Energy Department to build a 250-megawatt solar-thermal power plant in southern California.

When complete, the Mojave Solar Project in San Bernardino County will increase the amount of solar-thermal energy capacity in the U.S. by 50 percent, the department said today in a statement. PG&E Corp. will buy its electricity under a 25-year contract.

Abengoa, a Seville, Spain-based power-equipment maker, plans to get more than 80 percent of the project’s components from U.S. suppliers.

Solar-thermal plants use mirrors to focus the sun’s rays on various liquids and generate steam that drives a turbine and produces electricity. By storing the heated liquid, solar- thermal plants can generate power at night, unlike photovoltaic solar plants

The Mojave Solar guarantee was approved through the same program that backed a loan to solar panel maker Solyndra LLC, which has filed for bankruptcy. The Energy Department is working to close pending loan guarantees under the program before it ends Sept. 30, Damien LaVera, an agency spokesman, said in an interview yesterday.

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