In his weekly address to the nation, President Obama announced the investment of nearly $2 billion in solar energy.
With a financial reform bill on its way through Congress and Deepwater Horizon continuning to spew oil into the Gulf, this announcement couldn't come at a more opportune time. The investment, in the form of a loan guarantee, was given to two companies, Abound and Abengoa - who will create thousands of jobs and promote the use of cleaner energy.
Abound, a manufacturer of thin-film solar panels, has been awarded money for the expansion of its Colorado facility and the construction of another factory which will occupy a former Chrysler factory. Abengoa was awarded $1.45 billion for the construction of a solar power plant in Arizona, called Solana, that should supply power to 70,000 homes.
In these difficult economic times, Obama framed the argument in terms of creating jobs, green jobs. The expansion of Abound factories will create 1,500 permanent jobs and 2,000 construction jobs, while Solana is expected to create 85 permanent jobs, 1,600 jobs in construction, and an additional 150 jobs at a nearby plant that will supply mirrors to the facility.
The Solana plant is especially exciting because of its size and capability. The generation of 280 megawatts of clean power will save the same amount of CO2 that 90,000 cars produce in a year. It will also be more reliable than other generators - it is the first solar plant of its size that can store energy for use at night time.
The two projects are part of the Recovery Act's investment in clean energy jobs. According to the White House, the investments created 80,000 jobs in the first quarter of 2010 alone. In his address, Obama expressed his hope that America would become the leader in clean energy. As long as we stay focused on sustainability and put forth a genuine effort to find newer energy sources, that dream can become a reality.