This Week in Solar

As strange as the past few months have been for solar stocks, this week may have taken the cake. On Wednesday, despite a lack of real news, shares of First Solar (NAS: FSLR) fell 10% at the same time SunPower (NAS: SPWRA) climbed 10%, only to fall to flat at the close. Why? Because the market is nuts.

But life still went on in the solar industry, despite what the market thinks. Here are a few of the notable developments.

DOE under pressure
The Department of Energy (DOE) has put itself in a bit of a pickle with this whole Solyndra mess. The DOE has been wasting its time answering questions about the self-inflicted wounds Solydra caused, which is holding up loan guarantees to projects that have a chance to succeed. By the time you read this article, the DOE will have only a handful of hours to get guarantees done by its deadline. Hopefully the time crunch doesn't lead to the same mistakes we've seen before.

Here are some of the notable projects waiting for a loan guarantee from the DOE:

  • First Solar has 780 MW worth of projects waiting for DOE guarantees. Antelope valley is waiting on a loan guarantee of $680 million for a 230 MW project. Desert Sunlight is hoping for a $1.88 billion loan guarantee for a 550 MW project.

  • SunPower's 250 MW California Valley Solar Ranch has a $1.187 billion loan guarantee in line for approval if the paperwork gets done.

  • Project Amp, owned by Prologis and NRG (NYS: NRG) , is also in line for a $1.4 billion loan guarantee to install 733 MW of solar on rooftops in the United States.

SolarReserve was very recently approved for a $737 million loan guarantee to build a 110 MW solar thermal plant with 10 hours of thermal-energy storage using molten salt. This will be a technology to watch because it is the only solar technology currently available that could be used as a base load source. But as you can see, it's much more expensive than other options.

Elsewhere in solar
LDK Solar (NYS: LDK) completed its third 5,000 MT polysilicon train in its Mahong polysilicon plant. Just what the world needs -- more polysilicon.

ReneSola (NYS: SOL) completed a 27.5 MW solar installation in Germany that will supply enough energy to power 7,500 households. Despite the struggles in solar over the past few months, it's always good to see completion of a project this size.

Last but not least, Suntech Power (NYS: STP) signed an agreement to supply 35 MW of modules to Cupertino Electric's Energy Alternatives Division to build two solar projects. The project got under way in April and is expected to be completed quickly.

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorTravis Hoiumowns shares of First Solar, SunPower, and LDK Solar. You can follow Travis on Twitter at@FlushDrawFool, check out hispersonal stock holdings, or follow his CAPS picks atTMFFlushDraw.The Motley Fool owns, andMotley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying, shares of First Solar. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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