Obama Announcement Big For Solar Industry

This afternoon, President Obama announced more than $467 million in Recovery Act funding for geothermal and solar projects.

Here’s the breakdown…

  • $140 million for geothermal demonstration projects
  • $80 million for enhanced geothermal systems technology research and development
  • $100 million for innovative exploration techniques
  • $30 million for a national geothermal data system, resource assessment, and classification system
  • $51.5 million for photovoltaic technology development
  • $40.5 million for solar energy deployment
  • $25.6 million for concentrating solar power research and development

Whilemany had expected the funding for solar, the geothermal funding isactually a pretty big deal. Little has been dedicated to geothermal inthe past, yet it is this form of renewable energy that can provideuninterrupted baseload power. In fact, it’s capacity factor rivals thatof coal and nuclear.

Incidentally, U.S. Geothermal (AMEX:HTM) announced yesterday thatthe DOE is expected to loan the company 80 percent of the $106 millionnecessary for the company to construct its next 22 megawatt power plantat its Neal Hot Springs site in Oregon.

It is likely that the DOE was willing to make the loan to U.S.Geothermal because the company has a proven resource at Neal HotSprings. The government isn’t ponying up a dime to any geothermalcompany that doesn’t have a proven resource.

When the power plant is completed, the power produced from the NealHot Springs project will be sold under a long-term power purchaseagreement that is now under advanced negotiations.

Neal Hot Springs is expected to be operational in 2011.

Jeff

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