Spanish solar company Acciona will receive $2.9 million to expand a solar power plant in Boulder City, Nevada. The grant from the U.S. government comes in lieu of tax credits as allowed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The Obama administration announced the grant last week.
The provision in the Recovery Act allowing renewable energy projects to receive grants in lieu of tax credits came in response to the economic recession that had lenders tightening the reigns on loans for solar projects due to the risk involved. The prospect of recouping 30 percent of project costs in the short term gave developers more leverage while seeking financing for projects. The expansion of Acciona’s Nevada Solar One plant is a prime example.
It is one of 250 renewable energy projects slated to receive grants, 72 percent of which are solar energy projects. The feds have promised at least $550 million in grant funding for projects approved since applications started rolling in during August of last year. Developers apply for the program through the Department of Treasury and, upon approval, may recoup the money upon completion of their project.
At the time it was built in 2007, Nevada Solar One, a concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, was the largest of its kind in the world and the first built in 17 years. It was the plant that really sparked interest in large-scale solar power around the country. Now hundreds of projects are either underway or under development. Nevada Solar One is now the third largest in the world, according to the Las Vegas Sun, pumping out better than 64 megawatts of solar thermal power.
Three other projects in Nevada are receiving grants under the Recovery Act provision. All are geothermal power plants in the northern half of the state.
Photo Credit: TIME