Department of Energy Closes $400 Million Loan Guarantee for Solar Manufacturing Project

December 15, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

The Department of Energy announced that a $400 million loan guarantee has been finalized for Abound Solar Manufacturing, LLC to manufacture state-of-the-art thin-film solar panels. The Abound Solar project represents the fifth Recovery Act project to close to date. The project, which includes facilities in Longmont, Colorado, and Tipton, Indiana, will use new manufacturing technology for Cadmium-Telluride panels that has never before been deployed commercially in the world. At full capacity, the project will be capable of producing 840MW of solar panels each year.

The company estimates the project will create 1,200 new jobs for ongoing manufacturing and operations - including 200 in Colorado and 1,000 in Indiana. The project will also support hundreds of construction jobs and an estimated 1,600 ongoing supply chain jobs throughout the Midwest including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Tennessee and Ohio.

The facility will produce photovoltaic panels using an innovative process in which thin films of Cadmium-Telluride are deposited onto glass panels. The company believes the technology offers numerous improvements over existing manufacturing methods and reduces overall production costs. Production and installation of these panels produces significantly less greenhouse gas emissions than crystalline silicon panels.

The Department of Energy, through the Loan Programs Office, has issued loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees to support 16 clean energy projects totaling nearly $16.5 billion. Together, the 16 projects total over 37 million megawatt-hours of capacity, which will produce enough clean energy to power over 3.3 million homes. DOE has committed support for projects, which include two of the world’s largest solar thermal projects; a 2,200MW nuclear power plant - the nation’s first in three decades; and the world’s largest wind farm with generating capacity of 845MW.