US Department of Energy Guarantees $1 Billion Solar Farm

The US Department of Energy (DoE) says it will guarantee a loan of almost $1 billion to ensure the construction of an Arizona solar farm will go ahead as planned. 
  
Energy Secretary Steven Chu yesterday announced the offer of a $967 million conditional commitment to Agua Caliente Solar, LLC to support the construction of a 290-megawatt photovoltaic solar farm located in Yuma County, Arizona. 
  
The facility will use thin film solar panels and will be the largest photovoltaic generation facility in the world when it is completed.
 
“Solar projects like this are helping the U.S. to compete globally for the clean energy jobs of today and the future,” said Secretary Chu. “The Obama Administration is committed to bringing innovative renewable energy technologies to the market to support the country’s transition to a clean energy economy.”
  
The project will create and support 400 new jobs.
 
The DOE’s loan guarantee comes amid growing concern in the US that the nation is losing its grasp on the rudder of global renewable energy economics. An exodus by US-based renewable energy companies (most recently, Evergreen Solar) to China, where cheap labour and generous government incentives make business a more fiscally attractive prospect, is adding to murmurs that the potential of clean energy as a national wealth creating engine could be wasted if government doesn’t do more to support renewable energy technology and manufacturing.
 
The Department of Energy, through the Loan Programs Office, has issued loan guarantees totalling over $17 billion to support 17 clean energy projects. Together, these projects will produce over 37 million megawatt-hours, enough clean energy to power approximately 3.5 million homes.