Eligible projects for these loan guarantees must manufacture technology that supports the generation of electricity or thermal energy from renewable resources and has also been installed in and is being used in three or more commercial projects anywhere in the world in the same or a substantially similar manner as in the proposed project for at least 2 years.
Examples of potentially eligible projects under the Solicitation include:
- Wind energy component or systems manufacturing facilities;
- Solar photovoltaic (PV) component or system manufacturing facilities;
- Concentrated solar power component or system manufacturing facilities;
- Hydropower component or system manufacturing facilities;
- Geothermal component or system manufacturing facilities;
- Other geothermal power cycle component or system manufacturing facilities; or
- Ocean wave, tidal, and river current (e.g., hydrokinetic) component or system manufacturing facilities.
The underlying loan guaranteed by the Solicitation is expected to be senior-secured debt benefitting from full recourse to the balance sheet of the applicant, project sponsor, and/or a credit-worthy parent or third party. DOE may consider limited recourse project financing (with full recourse to the balance sheet of the project sponsor until certain defined completion tests are met) for start-up manufacturing operations. However, if a project proposes a limited recourse financing structure it must justify the use of such a structure in detail and demonstrate that DOE would be protected appropriately against risks. The proposed project must cost at least $75,000,000 to design, finance, engineer, and construct. The project must be able to obtain a credit rating equivalent to “BB” or better from Standard & Poor’s or Fitch, or “Ba2” or better from Moody’s without the benefit of the DOE guarantee.
Because the Solicitation is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“Recovery Act”), a project or facility under the Solicitation must commence construction on or before September 30, 2011. Commencing construction requires physical construction, including at a minimum, excavation for foundations or the installation or erection of improvements at the primary site of the proposed project.
First Round Part I applications under the Solicitation are due on September 30, 2010; with a Second (and final) Round Part I due date of November 30, 2010. Those projects that are deemed eligible after a Part I review by DOE will have Part II application due dates of November 30, 2010; December 31, 2010; or January 31, 2011. Part II submissions will be judged competitively against all others submitted during the corresponding round of review in the order they are received, thus earlier submissions may enjoy a first mover’s advantage.
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