Obama Announces $2 Billion for 2 Ambitious Solar Power Schemes

By Joseph Calamia | July 6, 2010 9:59 am

It will take more than a little sun to get one of the world’s biggest solar power plants up and running: it will also require 1,600 workers to build it and a lot of cash. On Saturday, President Obama announced that the U.S. Department of Energy will use last year’s stimulus bill to issue $1.85 billion in loan guarantees to two solar power companies, one of which plans to build one of the planet’s largest solar power plant in Arizona.

Solana, the big solar power plant planned by Abengoa Solar Inc., will cover an area of around 1,900 acres near Gila Bend, Arizona. As detailed in a White House press release, the company claims that the plant will be one of the first in the United States able to store its own power. According to the release, it will also be able to generate 280 megawatts of power—enough energy to run more than 70,000 homes–and will prevent the emission of 475,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. After construction, the plant will support 85 some permanent jobs, the company claims.

“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. . . . “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.” [Consumer Energy Report]

The other company, Abound Solar Manufacturing, will get $400 million to build two solar-panel manufacturing plants, one in an empty Chrysler supplier factory in Tipton, Indiana. The company estimates that building the two plants will require 2,000 workers and operating them will create 1,500 permanent positions; the company also says it will be first to use a new solar panel technology commercially.

Abound Solar Manufacturing, will manufacture state-of-the-art thin film solar panels, the first time anywhere that such technology has been used commercially. [BBC]

Obama’s focus on the amount of jobs created by each plant comes on the tail of an announcement from the U.S. Labor Department:

Obama coupled his announcement with an acknowledgment that efforts to recover from the recession are slow a day after the Labor Department reported that private hiring in June rose by 83,000. “It’s going to take months, even years, to dig our way out and it’s going to require an all-hands-on-deck effort,” he said. [The Independent]

Related content:
80beats: Making Super-Powered Solar Panels Via Quantum Dots
80beats: Tech Prize Goes to Inventor Who Wants to Turn Skyscrapers Into Generators
80beats: The Dream: Print-Out Solar Panels That Can Be Stapled to Your Roof
80beats: Glitter-Sized Solar Cells Could Be Woven into Your Power Tie
80beats: Self-Assembling Solar Panels Use the Vinaigrette Principle

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment
  • http://www.easybuilduk.com Easybuild Construction Software

    It’s a lot of money but hopefully it will help give the economy a push in the right direction.

  • Clark in Philadelphia

    Will the representatives of this Spanish company, who bring the know-how and initiative to this Arizona enterprise, be alienated when they are stopped by cops and asked to present papers? Arizona, this investment was funded by 50 states, most of which still have welcome mats for investors.

  • sanud002

    I’m so glad to see the president taking large strides toward real change in our domestic energy policy. It is becoming more and more practical everyday to use solar energy and I believe it beed to be one of the county’s main policy focuses. This is such an exciting time for solar energy. It seem like daily I’m reading about a new technological breakthrough in solar power technology. One of my recent favorites is about a solar cell that the military has developed that is not only cheap and flexible but 10,000 times more efficient. This is the kind of progressive thinking we need more of in the world today. I’ll post a link to the video about the technology if you would like to learn more.

    http://www.ndep.us/Its-a-Small-World

  • http://www.todae.com.au/SolarPower/SolarPower Nick Solar Power

    I’m happy to see more and more people are starting to notice the importance of renewable energy and are taking steps to doing so. I hope one day people will start using solar panels for their home energy needs.

  • max

    This is a great idea in theory, as we all love new jobs, but we don’t have money right now. We are in severe debt. If solar is so great then we wouldn’t need to subsidize it. Think people. Obama giving us our own tax money back through a giant government-owned solar plant isn’t helping our country because it is putting us deeper into debt.

    And what is this pulling money off the stimulus bill from last year. He already spent the $800,000,000 stimulus. Remember? That was the point of the stimulus! All the stimulus has done so far is increase public sector jobs. Great, more government employees. 16,000 new IRS agents hired for Obama-care. Why is that? Oh yea, so they can badger people who aren’t buying insurance, or companies that don’t offer enough.

    Welcome to Socialism. Remember, it starts slow. If it all happened at once we wouldn’t take it lying down. “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”

  • Steiner

    @Clark: Perhaps you are confused.

  • Digi Mike

    This is a nice step but too little. We have great economic need to and amazing opportunity to switch to solar. This is one industry that can employ many people in the US before it escapes to Asia… In the same time we can limit oil money that go away to Middle East. What about environmental impact? I am really surprised Obama administration sending only small tokens of attention to this amazing opportunity.

  • http:/teleprestexan.blogspot.com/ Stephen Daugherty

    Max-

    This is a great idea in theory, as we all love new jobs, but we don’t have money right now. We are in severe debt.

    Because of the non-socialists before him, the folks who let the markets police themselves, and would let them do so again, though they failed utterly at the task. These were the folks who gave us two wars and an entitlement program without raising taxes to cover the cost or offsetting the spending. Those mistakes cost this country trillions. But you are going to blast us over a couple of billion dollars investment which will help us offset our dependence on fossil fuels.

    And what is this pulling money off the stimulus bill from last year. He already spent the $800,000,000 stimulus. Remember? That was the point of the stimulus! All the stimulus has done so far is increase public sector jobs. Great, more government employees. 16,000 new IRS agents hired for Obama-care. Why is that? Oh yea, so they can badger people who aren’t buying insurance, or companies that don’t offer enough.

    Jobs are jobs, and your statements here are lies. Not yours necessarily, but lies nonetheless. There aren’t going to be thousands of new IRS agents. It boggles my mind that people actually trust those Radio Talk Show Hosts and TV personalities, given all the apologetics they did for the failures that were running our country until recently.

    Fact of the matter is, this paid for private sector jobs, gave money and tax breaks to private businesses, and delivered almost forty percent of its money to a tax cut for working class Americans.

    But even so, a public sector job still pays money, and people still spend that public sector job money at private sector businesses. The point isn’t where the money starts, it’s where it ends up.

    “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”

    How about this: “A Government small enough to let you do anything you want is a government too small to keep somebody from taking away everything from you.”

    See? I got a pithy quote, too!

    Welcome to the new gilded age, where the failure to manage the government and the economy properly is taken as reason to be even more incompetent and laissez faire.

  • max

    Stephen, Stephen, Stephen. I’m not saying nothing should be regulated. Most importantly there ARE 16,000 new IRS agents to be hired. IT’S IN THE HEATH CARE BILL!!! I did not pull that number out of of nowhere, its in the bill. Unfortunately nobody did read it, so now we have all these one liners in the bill that don’t seem to make a difference, but will in truth make a few people rich while giving minimum levels of care to the rest of the people. The wars are irrelevant to this argument.

    Moral of the story, more government would be a good idea, if we could control our government. Problem is, that no matter what happens, people are greedy. Whether they are in power due to government or due to their own hard work, they will want more and will fight to preserve themselves over the “little” people. I say at least when I am spending my own money I know where it is going.

    Pithy quote #2: “Silly liberals, paychecks are for workers.”

    And by the way, I can take care of myself. I don’t need the government to protect me from anything. Unless Hillary gets the Small Arms Ban Treaty passed, then I will have to protect myself from my own government as well as outsiders.

  • Brian Too

    Finally, a US President investing in an energy idea that isn’t fossil fuels, has a decent shot at practicality, and might even generate some jobs and investment in a time of recession. That’s refreshing.

  • http://www.quotesmart.co.uk Solar Quote

    Government solar installers have given way to large subsidies for solar companies to install free systems on your roof in response for having this feed in tariff and providing free generated electricity from their panels. You should be wary and ensure that you have done your homework before undertaking one of these schemes.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

80beats

80beats is DISCOVER's news aggregator, weaving together the choicest tidbits from the best articles covering the day's most compelling topics.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »