The solar unit of NRG Energy has secured a crucial $967 million Department of Energy loan guarantee supporting the construction of one of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic power projects.
The DOE funding, to be dissbursed to NRG Solar by the government’s Federal Financing Bank, will partly finance construction of the 290 megawatts Agua Caliente PV project in Arizona’s Yuma County.
We had previously reported that Agua Caliente is expected to cost a little more than $1.5 billion to build. NRG management has said that it could invest up to $800 million in Agua Caliente through 2014, either by selling a stake in the project to outside investors or by tapping its own balance sheet.
NRG acquired Agua Caliente late last year from thin-film PV maker First Solar for an undisclosed amount. The close of the DOE financing also officially closes NRG’s acquisition of the project.
Agua Caliente aims to go commercial in 2014 and will sell its output to Pacific Gas and Electric under a 25-year power purchase agreement.
Over the past couple of years NRG has financed a significant push into the solar sector. Besides Agua Caliente, the New Jersey company currently oversees about 725 megawatts of solar projects that are either operating or under construction. NRG also holds a $300 million stake in BrightSource Energy’s 392-megawatt Ivanpah CSP solar project.