U.S. Department of Energy Announces Support for Solar and Geothermal Power

by Antonio Pasolini on June 26, 2011

This week the U.S. Department of Energy made a couple of announcements related to alternative energy.

Solar

The first is related to a rooftop solar project called Project Amp, described as the “largest rooftop project in U.S. history”.

The project will support the installation of solar panels on industrial buildings across the country, with the electricity generated from those panels contributing directly to the electrical grid, as opposed to powering the buildings where they are installed. The funding will come from the Recovery Act.

The solar generation project includes the installation of approximately 733 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, which is nearly equal to the total amount of PV installed in the U.S. in 2010. Project Amp is estimated to create at least one thousand jobs over a four year period.

Geothermal

Eight projects in five states (California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Texas, and Uta) have been selected to receive up to $11.3 million to support the research and development of pioneering geothermal technologies, which aim at tapping into the Earth’s heat to produce electricity.

The projects will conduct feasibility studies in Phase I, including technical and economic modeling and component design for technologies that recover geothermal heat for electricity production. If selected for Phase II, the projects will then validate the designs in real-world environments.

The selected projects are part of the Department’s efforts to reduce the cost of geothermal energy to be competitive with conventional sources of electricity. This type of energy can contribute towards the government’s goal of 80% clean electricity by 2035.

The chosen companies are GeoTek Energy (Midland, Texas), Gtherm, Inc. (Westport, Connecticut), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley, California), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, California), Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), Physical Optics Corporation (Torrance, California), Terralog Technologies USA, Inc. (Monrovia, California) and University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah).

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