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Spanish Energy Firm Gets Billions in Loans from Feds

5:43 PM, Sep 14, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Even as problems grow for Solyndra, the solar energy manufacturing firm that got a hefty stimulus-backed loan before going bankrupt earlier this month, the Department of Energy continues to issue large loans to companies. The Los Angeles Times reports on a newly approved loan of $1.2 billion to the Mojave Solar Project in San Bernardino, California:

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said today that his department had finalized a $1.2-billion loan guarantee to Mojave Solar for the development of the Mojave Solar Project. When complete, the 250-megawatt solar generation project in San Bernardino County will increase the nation’s currently installed concentrating solar power capacity by approximately 50%. 

Abengoa Solar Inc., the project sponsor, is the source of the estimate on construction and permanent operations jobs. 

“Investments in solar generation facilities like the Mojave Solar Project are critical to our effort to create good, clean energy jobs in America and compete with countries like China in the global clean energy race,” Chu said. “This project will supply local utilities with energy, help drive down the cost of solar power and fund more than 900 American jobs, all at minimal risk to the taxpayer.”

This isn't the first big loan that Abengoa Solar, a division of a Spanish energy corporation, has received from the stimulus package. According to the website for the Department of Energy's loan programs office, the company also received a $1.446 billion loan beginning in December 2010 for their Solana project near Gila Bend, Arizona. Abengoa Solar bills Solana, currently under construction, as the "largest solar power plant in the world." A sister company, Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass, is also receiving a $133.9 million loan from the same program for a project in Kansas.

There doesn't, however, seem to be a risk that Abengoa will go the way of Solyndra. The multinational corporation based in Spain has total assets of over $23 billion.

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