Tonopah Solar Project Gets Key Federal Loan

WASHINGTON -- Facing a Friday deadline, the Energy Department has approved two loan guarantees worth more than $1 billion for solar energy projects in Nevada and Arizona.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the department has completed a $737 million loan guarantee to Tonopah Solar Energy for a 110-megawatt solar tower in Tonopah, where a number of jobs were at stake pending completion of the loan. A $337 million guarantee for Mesquite Solar 1 to develop a 150-megawatt solar plant about 45 miles west of Phoenix also was granted.

The loans were approved under the same program that paid for a $535 million loan to Solyndra Inc., a now-bankrupt solar panel maker that has become a rallying cry for Republican critics of the Obama administration's green energy program.

The latest loan program, approved under the 2009 economic stimulus law, expires Friday. At least seven projects worth about $5 billion are pending.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.


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