California breaks ground on world’s largest solar panel project

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

A California solar panel complex that officials say will be the largest of its kind in the world after its completion broke ground Friday in a ceremony that featured U.S. Dept. of Interior Sec. Ken Salazar and Gov. Jerry Brown.

From The Hill:

The 1,000-megawatt project will power 300,000 to 750,000 homes and result in about 1,000 temporary construction jobs and a little over 200 permanent jobs, according to the Interior Department.

The project’s price tag is estimated at $6 billion, though developers received substantial subsidies from the Department of Energy as part of president Obama’s stimulus package. Once completed, the parabola-shaped panels will cover 7,000 acres of land.

The American Independent reported June 6 on a bill co-authored by Sen. Bernie Williams (I-Vt.) that would tackle the consumer end of solar installation, helping homeowners acquire permissions faster by cutting out much of the bureaucratic wrangling. That bill’s goal is to enter 10 million home into solar panel fold.

The bipartisan legislation, titled the The 10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2011 (PDF), would be a boon to a quickly changing solar panel industry. The Solar Energy Industries Association — the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry — stated during a conference call with businesses and in a June 1 congressional hearing that the industry already employs 100,000 people, and they expect that number to double by 2013.

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