Obama Announces Close to $2B in Solar Loan Guarantees


It’s a solar celebration weekend. President Obama took the opportunity of his weekly video address over the 4th of July weekend to announced that the Department of Energy has awarded close to $2 billion in conditional commitments for loan guarantees to Spanish solar company Abengoa Solar and Colorado-based solar panel maker Abound Solar.

Abengoa Solar was awarded a $1.45 billion loan guarantee to help it build Solana, a solar thermal trough-based solar farm that is under contract to sell power to Arizona utility APS in Gila Bend, Ariz. Fred Morse, U.S. senior adviser to Abengoa Solar, told me back in February that Abengoa had “completed the permitting,” “gotten the transmission link ready,” and had just started “on financing the project.” Nice job Morse.

Solana will create 1,600 jobs in Arizona, said Obama, and over 70 percent of the solar components will be made in the U.S., he added. The plant will be ready by 2013.

Abound Solar, which makes thin-film solar panels, was awarded a $400 million loan guarantee to build two new plants. Obama said that the Abound plants would create 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs.



What exactly did Obama do?

This project was announced under Bush in 2007, and the DOE just approved the “Loans” in May 2010.

DOE Approves Loan Guarantee for Abengoa Solana Project in Arizona
May 22, 2010

“The U.S. Department of Energy has just agreed to guarantee the loan for Abengoa Solar to start construction of the Solana CSP Project, announced in 2007. The decision marks the culmination of a lengthy environmental assessment with 286 pages of referenced impact statements, covering every possible reason to obstruct Abengoa’s Solana – Spanish for a sunny place – CSP Project.”


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