U.S. Government Backs Major Commercial Rooftop Solar Power Project

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu last week announced a conditional commitment towards a partial guarantee for a $1.4 billion loan to support a commercial solar power initiative called Project Amp.

Project Amp seeks to install around 733 megawatts of solar panels on commercial buildings throughout the USA – nearly the amount of PV based solar energy systems installed in the nation by the end of last year.

Project Amp is expected to produce up to one million megawatt hours of solar electricity annually, enough to provide for the power needs of over 88,000 homes. The solar power systems installed under the initiative are expected to avoid approximately 580,000 tons of carbon pollution annually. Additionally, at least a thousand jobs will be created over a 4 year period.

“This unprecedented solar project will not only produce clean, renewable energy to power the grid in states across the country, but it will help us meet the SunShot goal of achieving cost competitive solar power with other forms of energy by the end of the decade,” said Secretary Chu.

The SunShot initiative plans to achieve solar energy cost parity on a large scale throughout America by 2020 -and to make it cost competitive without subsidies.

The USA is rapidly moving towards establishing itself as a leader in rooftop solar panel uptake and distributed electricity generation; recently helped along by search giant Google, which announced the creation of a USD$280 million fund to finance residential solar power installations.

The Department Of Energy says has provided loans and loan guarantees totalling over USD$33 billion to support 37 clean energy projects around the nation. The program’s 20 generation projects generate close to 29 million megawatt-hours each year, enough to meet the power needs of over two million homes. Including Project Amp, the Department’s program has reserved or committed over $12 billion in loan guarantees for solar electricity generation projects.