4 Jul 2010

Funding mooted for solar energy projects in US

6:02 pm on 4 July 2010

Two companies in the United States are being awarded federal loan guarantees of $US1.85 billion for solar energy projects.

President Barack Obama says one will construct a solar power generating plant and the other will build advanced solar panels.

The money will come from government stimulus funds designed to boost the economy during the recession.

Abenoga Solar says that it is planning to build the largest solar power plant in the world in Arizona, which should provide power to 70,000 houses. The BBC reports it will cover 1900 acres and produce 280 MW.

The second company, Abound Solar Manufacturing, will manufacture what is described as "state-of-the-art" thin film solar panels.

Mr Obama said on Saturday the projects would provide more than 5000 new jobs.

The Labor Department reported on Friday that around 125,000 jobs were lost in the last month.

Mr Obama acknowledged the loans would not be an instant solution.

NZ should follow suit

Energy analyst, Molly Melhuish, says the New Zealand government should come up with subsidies of similar value for companies here.

She says New Zealand should consider the support of solar technology and also wind technology on a par with what the United States is doing.