WASHINGTON, July 3 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama announced Saturday the U.S. Department of Energy will award nearly $2 billion in Recovery Act funds to two solar companies.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said Abengoa Solar will build one of the world's largest solar plants in Arizona, and Abound Solar Manufacturing will build solar panel construction plants in Colorado and Indiana.
One day after the Labor Department reported the private sector added 83,000 jobs but the economy overall lost 125,000 jobs in June, the president noted that the economy has created private sector jobs for six straight months, following 22 consecutive months of job losses.
"That's a positive sign," he said. "But the truth is, the recession from which we're emerging has left us in a hole that's about 8 million jobs deep. And as I've said from the day I took office, it's going to take months, even years, to dig our way out -- and it's going to require an all-hands-on-deck effort."
The president again urged Republicans in the Senate to allow passage of unemployment insurance extension for the long-term unemployed. He also called for expanded small business loans and aid to states facing budget gaps.
He said the solar energy grants represent an attempt to compete "aggressively to make sure the jobs and industries of the future are taking root right here in America."
The Arizona project is expected to create about 1,600 construction jobs and more than 70 percent of construction components and products will be manufactured in the United States. The projects in Colorado and Indiana are expected to create more than 2,000 construction jobs, and more than 1,500 permanent jobs producing solar panels.