For Immediate Release: August 25, 2010
Media Contact: Susanne Garfield - 916-654-4989
Energy Commission Approves First Clean Energy Business Loan
Solar Cell Manufacturer Receives Financial Boost
SACRAMENTO – The California Energy Commission today approved the first loan from the Clean Energy Business Financing Program (CEBFP) to a Silicon Valley solar cell manufacturing facility. Calisolar, located in Sunnyvale, was awarded a $5 million loan to purchase equipment to expand the manufacture of high performance photovoltaic cells. The Clean Energy Business Financing Program is using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to provide up to $30.6 million in 2.75 percent low-interest loans to private businesses that improve or expand their energy efficiency or renewable energy manufacturing facilities in California.
"California's manufacturing base has eroded 32 percent since 2001, a loss of over 600,000 manufacturing jobs. In these challenging fiscal times, companies, such as Calisolar, that are developing clean energy products are becoming an economic bright spot," said California Energy Commission Chairman Karen Douglas. "In-state clean energy manufacturing feeds into other businesses and state programs such as the New Solar Homes Partnership boosting jobs and renewable technologies."
Using these stimulus and private funds, Calisolar's project will expand solar cell capacity production from 60 megawatts (MW) annually to 75 MW annually by December 2010. The project will create and/or retain an estimated 181 full-time equivalent jobs when operating at their maximum production levels and offset 81,131 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. Calisolar is providing $20,716,00 in leveraged financing for the project's total $25,716,002 cost. The loan will be repaid in 84 monthly payments.
"The Clean Energy Business Financing Program links two of California's most vital interests, the environment and the economy," said Calisolar CEO Sandra Beach Lin. "By supporting manufacturers in renewable technologies, the California Energy Commission is having a direct impact on the ability of companies like Calisolar to create new jobs in California, introduce innovative systems and solutions that benefit the environment, and compete successfully in the global arena."
Calisolar's application was one of 44 submitted to the CEBFP and evaluated on job creation/retention, energy saved, leveraged financing, and an economic adjustment for manufacturing job loss. After review by the Energy Commission the applications were then sent to the financial development corporations (FDCs) through the Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency (BTH) where they underwent rigorous business credit analysis. CEBFP awardees that scored high in these categories were eligible for funding depending on CEBFP loan capacity available. The proposed loan awards were announced July 2010 for seven companies including Calisolar.
Calisolar Inc., the only U.S. supplier of multi-crystalline solar cells, was also awarded a clean energy manufacturing tax credit of $51.6 million in ARRA funding. Calisolar was selected based on merit after a review of criteria including domestic job creation, impact on reducing pollution, potential for technological innovation and commercial deployment and project time from certification to completion.
The California Energy Commission received $226 million under the State Energy Program to implement public and private sector programs. The Clean Energy Manufacturing Program is providing up to $30.6 million in ARRA funds and is leveraging public and private funds and provides opportunities to help business and industry to embrace new technologies and innovative products that build a clean energy economy. These innovative projects will rebuild our electricity grid, sustain jobs, retrofit our homes and businesses and eventually produce the future of our State's transportation fuels and the vehicles powered by them. Douglas noted that the loss of manufacturing jobs since 2001 has cost California nearly $75 million a year in lost wages and $5 billion annually in lost tax revenue - money that once helped pay for schools infrastructure and other services.
"Always an energy leader, California has implemented some of the most progressive energy policies in the world," said Chairman Douglas. "All too often, however, we find that our innovative ideas are supporting jobs in other states or other countries. By encouraging the creation of manufacturing jobs right here at home, this program will help California to reclaim some of the most significant benefits of our policies."
Details of the CEBFP program are available on the California Energy Commission website at www.energy.ca.gov/recovery/cleanenergy.html and a list of the proposed loans are at www.energy.ca.gov/contracts/recovery.html
For information about Calisolar:
Bret Adams, Director of Marketing
408 962 3144
# # #