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Massive Antelope Vally Solar Project Gets Equally Massive Loan

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Environmental review by the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning and post-Solyndra oversight at the Department of Energy have delayed a massive solar project in the Antelope Valley, but that's all water under the bridge now. Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that Chicago-based Exelon Corp. had begun drawing funds from a DOE loan guarantee program to the tune of $646 million. The loan money means that the $1.36 billion sale of the facility has finally, officially closed after Exelon bought the facility from Arizona-based First Solar back in September. The loan was most recently held up while "First Solar waited for Los Angeles County agencies to approve a slight change in the company's construction permit related to the amount of dirt it could remove at the construction site." The Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning granted the grading permitsin February.

First Solar mathematics nerds claim that the 230 megawatt solar farm in the Antelope Valley will generate enough electricity to power about 75,000 California homes and displace about 140,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. The total area of the plant is a whopping 2,100 acres. According to the Exelon website, the plant is expected to begin operations in late 2012, with full operation expected in late 2013. Unfortunately, all that clean energy will be headed north (a water for electricity swap, maybe?). PG&E has a long-term contract to buy the power once it starts flowing.
· Exelon Taps Federal Loan for Solar-Power Deal [Wall Street Journal]
· LA County Approvals Boost $1.36 Billion First Solar-Exelon Deal [4-Traders]