Nevada gets more solar energy funds

June 3, 2011 at 6:53 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 3 (UPI) -- U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced an offer of more than $40 million to help Nevada build a solar power generating facility just outside of Las Vegas.

Chu, alongside U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., announced a conditional commitment for a $45.6 million loan guarantee to support a 20 megawatt solar generating facility. The Fotowatio solar generating facility will be developed approximately 25 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

The solar project will be the second-largest in Nevada. It would produce enough power to meet the energy demands of more than 4,700 homes and avoid more than 31,000 tons of carbon pollution per year.

"Today's announcement is yet another sign that Nevada is a major player in the growing solar industry," Chu said in a statement.

The Energy Department in May announced it was offering a $737 million loan for a Nevada solar plant that uses molten salt to capture the sun's energy. That project is expected to produce roughly 500,000 megawatts of energy each year, or enough to meet the yearly demands of more than 43,000 homes.

The Fotowatio is expected to be operational next year. Operations are slated at the salt site for late 2013.

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