Abengoa's Arizona Solana solar power plant enters service

Wed Oct 9, 2013 3:26pm EDT

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(Reuters) - Spanish technology and engineering company Abengoa SA said on Wednesday the 280-megawatt Solana solar thermal power plant in Arizona entered service earlier this week.

The plant, which cost about $2 billion to build, has a thermal energy storage system that is able to generate electricity for six hours after the sun goes down.

The plant is located near Gila Bend about 70 miles southwest of Phoenix.

Abengoa said the construction of the plant, which started in 2010, created more than 2,000 jobs.

The plant consists of parabolic shaped mirrors mounted on structures that track the sun and concentrate the sun's rays to heat water into steam to power a conventional turbine.

Arizona Public Service, a unit of Pinnacle West Capital Corp, will buy all the power produced by the plant for 30 years. The plant will generate enough power for about 70,000 homes.

To help finance the plant's construction, the U.S. Department of Energy gave Solana a $1.45 billion federal loan guarantee.

Last week, a unit of media holding company Liberty Interactive Corp invested $300 million in the Solana project.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)

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