President Obama has approved $1.85bn in loan guarantees for two large scale solar projects as part of the economic stimulus package. Combined these projects are thought to be creating 5000 jobs. Abengoa Solar is to receive $1.45bn in loan Guarantees to help support the development of a new solar farm in Arizona which is expected to power 70,000 homes.
A further $400 Million in Loan Guarantees will be provided to Abound Solar Manufacturing to develop two new solar manufacturing plants. This is expected to create up to 1500 permanent jobs. It is an interesting move away from the Bush era’s pro oil approach. With the BP crisis in the gulf still in full swing Obama will face far less opposition in pushing these loans through. There will also be much stronger public support for renewable energy generally and drop in support for further off shore drilling programmes.
Obama is looking towards renewable energy as not only an investment in the environment but as a new industry to help rebuild America’s fragile economy. By investing in Solar power production Obama is opening a new income steam to the U.S and is also going to be competing directly with China who currently have huge solar panel production capacity.
As more countries realise the importance of investing in solar energy and solar panel development we are likely to see increases in efficiency and a decrease in technology costs.