This past Friday, the 30th September, was the final day for approvals under the Department of Energy’s 1705 Loan Guarantee Program. This was of course set up as part of the 2009 stimulus law and extended an existing Energy Department loan guarantee program.
Activity at the DoE under the program has also now of course become a highly political issue in the aftermath of the move by Solyndra into Chapter 11 – leaving the program exposed on its $535m loan guarantee, extended to the company in September of 2009.
In particular, Republican members of Congress have expressed concerns that the DoE, having allegedly failed to do proper due diligence on the Solyndra loan guarantee, would now rush through some final loan guarantee approvals before the Friday expiry of the program. You can read my original article on the likely negative affects of this political wrangle on solar stocks here.
Indeed, in the aftermath of the Solyndra announcement the DoE failed to move forward on two large loan guarantee applications:
- On Wednesday the 21st, First Solar said that their application for a $1.9bn loan guarantee for their 550 MW Topaz project would not complete the application process in time to beat the deadline.
- On Friday the 23rd, a similar fate befell SolarCity’s application for a $275m loan guarantee. The DoE blamed increased paperwork resulting from the Congressional investigation into the Solyndra decision. SolarCity’s project, SolarStrong, would have put solar panels on the roofs of 160,000 military family homes.
- On Wednesday the 28th, the DoE approved a $727m loan guarantee for a 110 MW solar project sponsored by Tonopah Solar in Nye County, Nevada.
- The same day, they also announced the finalization of a separate $337m loan guarantee for a Sempra Energy 150 MW project in Arizona.
- SunPower was awarded a $1.237 bn loan guarantee for the company’s California Valley Solar Ranch project in San Luis Obispo, California.
- First Solar received a $646 m loan guarantee for the company’s Antelope solar generation plant in Lancaster, California.
- First Solar also received a partial guarantee on $1.46 bn for the company’s Desert Sunlight project in Riverside County, California.
- Prologis received a partial loan guarantee on $1.4 bn for Project Amp, which will put 752 MW of solar power on 750 existing rooftops across 28 states.