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President Announces $2 billion Solar Power Funding

President Barack Obama announced over the weekend that the government will be spending almost $2 billion to fund solar power initiatives, according to reports.

The funds will be split among two solar firms. The first, Abengoa Solar, will receive a $1.45 billion loan guarantee it said will use to build the world’s largest solar power facility in Arizona. The plant, known as the Solana facility, is expected to produce 280 MW of power, enough power to run 70,000 homes, according to one report. According to calculations by the company, the plant will prevent the emission of 475,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually compared to a natural gas burning plant. The facility will be located 70 miles outside of Phoenix, Ariz.

The second company, Abound Solar Manufacturing, will receive $400 million in loan guarantees to help it build thin-film solar panels for two plants, marking the first time thin-film panels have been used on a commercial scale.

The funds come from the $863 billion Recovery Act.

The plant will also be the first large scale plant in the US to store the energy it generates, allowing it to power customers even at night, according to the President’s remarks during his radio address. The plant will make use of molten salt storage technology in order to provide six additional hours of power dispatchability.

Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) recently topped the list of utilities with the most solar megawatts (MW) added to the grid for the second straight year with 85.2 MW. Meanwhile, the military is building a 500 MW solar plant in California.

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