Tuesday, August 3, 2010

US Commits Nearly $2 Billion to Two Solar Power Companies

Two solar energy companies are looking to expand with the help of nearly $2 billion in new financing through the US Recovery Act, President Barack Obama announced over the weekend.
During his weekly address, Obama said the Department of Energy would provide $1.45 billion in conditional commitment funds to Abengoa Solar, as well as additional funding to Abound Solar Manufacturing for three massive construction projects.

Abengoa Solar plans to build the largest concentrating solar plants in the world in Arizona. When completed, the 250-megawatt facility known as Solana is expected to provide enough clean energy to power 70,000 homes.

“After years of watching companies build things and create jobs overseas, it’s good news that we’ve attracted a company to our shores to build a plant and create jobs right here in America,” Obama said of Abengoa. “In the short term, construction will create approximately 1,600 jobs in Arizona. What’s more, over 70 per cent of the components and products used in construction will be manufactured in the USA, boosting jobs and communities in states up and down the supply chain. Once completed, this plant will be the first large-scale solar plant in the US to actually store the energy it generates for later use — even at night.”

The Solana project will be able to store up to six hours of energy by using molten salt. The strategy will allow the facility to provide power even during cloudy weather and after sunset, enabling it to help meet the summer peak demand.

Meanwhile, Obama continued, Abound Solar “will manufacture advanced solar panels at two new plants, creating more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs. A Colorado plant is already underway, and an Indiana plant will be built in what’s now an empty Chrysler factory. When fully operational, these plants will produce millions of state-of-the-art solar panels each year.”

While acknowledging the severe economic conditions facing many citizens, Obama said such projects can gradually help replace many of the jobs that have been lost in this recession.
“These are just two of the many clean energy investments in the Recovery Act,” he said. “Already, I’ve seen the payoff from these investments. I’ve seen once-shuttered factories humming with new workers who are building solar panels and wind turbines; rolling up their sleeves to help America win the race for the clean energy economy.”