During his July 3, 2010 weekly address, President Obama discussed the $2 billion in Recovery Act awards that have been made to two solar companies for projects in three states. The conditional commitments have been made to Abengoa Solar and Abound Solar and will help expand the United States’ clean energy capabilities.
Abengoa Solar will be building one of the largest solar plants in the world with help from the Recovery Act funding. The solar plant is named Solana and will be built near Gila Bend, Arizona, in the middle of the sunny Sonoran Desert. The facility will be the first large solar project in the United States that will be able to store the energy it generates for future use.
Solana will produce enough clean energy to provide power to 70,000 homes and prevent 475,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. The construction process, which will begin this fall, will generate an estimated 1,600 new jobs. When the plant is operational in mid-2013, 85 permanent jobs will be created.
As is the case with most Recovery Act funded projects, job growth extends beyond the core project. The Solana project will also lead to the creation of assembly factories in the Phoenix area, which could generate another 150 permanent green jobs.
Abound Solar will be using the Recovery Act awards to expand its Longmont, Colorado plant and to open a new facility in Tipton, Indiana. The construction of the two plants will create 2,000 jobs and when in operation, approximately 1,500 permanent jobs will be created at these two locations. The plants will be manufacturing thin-film solar panels and once at full operation the expected output tops one million solar panels each year.
Unlike some of the other Recovery Act funding opportunities, the nearly $2 billion in funding comes via a loan guarantee program. At a time when the financial industry is still digging out from the 2008 crisis, Recovery Act loan guarantees help ensure that financing makes its way to these vital clean energy projects.