US: SolarReserve closes financing on 110 MW solar project

Located near Tonopah, Nevada, on federal land operated by the Bureau of Land Management, construction on the solar thermal project started earlier this month. It is scheduled to be operational by late 2013. SolarReserve subsidiary, Tonopah Solar Energy, LLC will construct, own, and operate it.

SolarReserve CEO, Kevin Smith says that over 600 direct jobs are expected to be created during the solar plant’s 30 month construction period. He adds that 4,300 direct, indirect and induced employment opportunities will be available. Ninety percent of the construction jobs will reportedly be filled by Nevada residents.

Cobra Thermosolar Plants Inc. will act as the general contractor for the project. The company is an affiliate of ACS Cobra, which is acting as an investor, alongside SolarReserve and Santander. "The project also closed on $737 million in project debt along with a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy," said a statement released.

US-developed technology

The Crescent Dunes project will utilize "innovative" U.S. developed technology. "Through the use of energy storage, the highly efficient solar project will provide reliable, zero-emission electricity on demand – day or night," continued the statement.

The energy storage technology was said to have been developed by United Technologies Corporation subsidiary, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.

The statement goes on to say that the project will generate over 500,000 MW hours of energy annually, "almost twice that of other solar technologies per MW of capacity". Nevada-based electric utility, NV Energy, will reportedly purchase all of the generated energy under a 25-year power sales contract.

"SolarReserve’s molten salt power tower technology will change the face of solar thermal power as the world knows it, and we are excited to help implement this important technology in Nevada," stated Jose Alfonso Nebrera Garcia, director general of ACS Cobra.