Energy Department expects solar energy project to create 900 jobs


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The U.S. Energy Department hopes that a new solar energy project will result in about 900 construction and permanent operations jobs.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said today that his department had finalized a $1.2-billion loan guarantee to Mojave Solar for the development of the Mojave Solar Project. When complete, the 250-megawatt solar generation project in San Bernardino County will increase the nation’s currently installed concentrating solar power capacity by approximately 50%.


Abengoa Solar Inc., the project sponsor, is the source of the estimate on construction and permanent operations jobs.

“Investments in solar generation facilities like the Mojave Solar Project are critical to our effort to create good, clean energy jobs in America and compete with countries like China in the global clean energy race,” Chu said. “This project will supply local utilities with energy, help drive down the cost of solar power and fund more than 900 American jobs, all at minimal risk to the taxpayer.”

The Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office administers the Title XVII Section 1703 and Section 1705 loan guarantee programs, and the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.

The Energy Department said that the Title XVII loan guarantee programs ‘support the deployment of commercial technologies along with innovative technologies that avoid, reduce or sequester greenhouse gas emissions, while the ATVM loan program supports the development of advanced vehicle technologies.’

The Department has issued loans, loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling nearly $40 billion to support more than 40 clean energy projects across the United States.

Not all of those investments pan out. Federal agents recently executed a search warrant at the Northern California headquarters of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra Inc., which filed for bankruptcy protection last week despite receiving $535 million in federal stimulus loan guarantees.



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-- Ronald D. White