US Energy Department backs Calif. solar projects

AP News
Posted: Apr 12, 2011 4:29 PM
US Energy Department backs Calif. solar projects

Federal energy officials are putting financial support behind two huge solar energy projects in California that could create hundreds of jobs and power 145,000 homes.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Tuesday announced a conditional offer of $1.2 billion in loan guarantees for the California Valley Solar Ranch project on the state's Central Coast. The project would use new technology to follow the sun, increasing efficiency.

Chu announced the move at a new factory near San Jose for SunPower Corp., which would sponsor the project. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. would purchase the power.

The project is expected to create 350 construction jobs and power 60,000 homes.

On Monday, Chu announced a $1.6 billion guarantee for a BrightSource Inc. solar plant in the Mojave Desert that could create 1,000 jobs and power 85,000 homes.