Shadows over solar industry as firm misses loan deadline

The future of a large Californian solar park is in doubt after its backers admitted they would not be able to complete the forms needed to secure a government loan for the site.

It is the third blow to the US’ solar industry following the bankruptcies of Evergreen Solar and Solyndra in the last few weeks.

The US government had backed First Solar with up to $1.9bn dollars of funding in June this year for developing a 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farm photovoltaic (PV) facility.

First Solar estimates it will create an average of 400 jobs during the three-year construction process and use modules from First Solar’s Perrysburg, Ohio, and Mesa, Arizona factories.

According to First Solar, if it gets built, Topaz is expected to generate enough clean, renewable solar electricity to power approximately 160,000 average California homes, displacing about 377,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.

However, the firms said last night (September 22) it will not meet the statutory deadline to receive a federal loan guarantee from the Department of Energy (DOE).

A spokesman for the company said: “First Solar is in advanced talks regarding the sale and financing of the project with potential buyers utilising a different transaction structure that does not require a DOE loan guarantee.”

Luke Walsh

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