Tonopah Solar Energy LLC, the owner of a Nevada solar energy power plant, filed for bankruptcy on on July 30th before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.  According to its petition, the debtor has between $100 million and $500 million in liabilities.

Tonopah Solar Energy LLC still owes $425 million on a loan from the U.S. Department of Energy, but reached a settlement under which the department will recover at least $200 million, according to documents filed in the Delaware Bankruptcy Court.  The settlement remains subject to court approval.

Tonopah is owned by SolarReserve, the startup that developed the plant; Cobra Energy Investments LLC, a division of Spanish infrastructure company ACS; and Banco Santander SA, according to court papers.  Interestingly, Tonopah just received a written opinion from the Delaware Court of Chancery in its favor earlier in July denying a books and records demand by SolarReserve CSP Holdings, LLC, a holding company established to hold an indirect interest in Tonopah, under the company’s limited liability company agreement.  A recent discussion of the opinion by the Delaware Business Dispute Blog can be found here.

Tonopah began operating in 2015.  However, its facility suffered issues with its energy storage system which caused the power plant to cease operations. Operations resumed in July 2017 and remained online until early April 2019, when a second leak in the tank was discovered. Tonopah has not operated since the first half of 2019.

The Debtor’s case has been assigned to the Honorable Karen B. Owens.

Carl D. Neff is a partner with the law firm of Pierson Ferdinand LLP, and practices in Delaware. You can reach Carl at (302) 482-4244 or at