Secretary of Energy Steven Chu just announced a conditional guarantee for a loan of up to $1.4 billion for Project Amp, the largest solar project in US history, which will work like a decentralized power plant. The project aims to install 733 megawatts of photovoltaic solar panels on rooftops across the country that will feed power into the grid, instead of into the building they are on top of. When the project is finished, it will supply about one million megawatt hours and save 580,000 tons of carbon pollution per year.
“This unprecedented solar project will not only produce clean, renewable energy to power the grid in states across the country, but it will help us meet the SunShot goal of achieving cost competitive solar power with other forms of energy by the end of the decade,” said Secretary Chu. “In addition, Project Amp will create at least a thousand jobs across the U.S. and increase our global competitiveness in the clean energy race.”
Secretary Chu announced the SunShot initiative shortly after President Obama’s State of the Union speech called on the country to treat our renewable energy future like we treated putting a man on the moon. The SunShot initiative aims to drop the total installed cost of solar energy to $1 per watt by 2020. Eventually, Project Amp will have solar panels installed and feeding the grid from 750 existing rooftops in 28 states and the District of Columbia which will provide enough power for 88,000 homes. Though that is just a small amount of the power needed nationwide, this project could provide a model for the future. There are surely a lot more than 750 commercial buildings across this great country that are just sitting around waiting to put their solar potential to use.