As heat waves roast major cities around the world, solar energy is a hot topic. From residential rooftops to power plants to experimental aircraft, solar energy is having its season within the sun. After spending 26 hours aloft, a solar powered airplane landed on Thursday. And this week the Obama administration pledged $ 1.85 billion in guaranteed loans to develop a solar energy power plant and also some solar panel factories. But there's a cloud. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, ever the bearers of bad news these days, won't accept any mortgage loans that use a government funded program to finance solar energy installation costs.
Solar plane with its day within the sun
A solar plane landed in Paris after flying continuously for 26 hours, 9 minutes. The New York Times reports the Solar Impulse reached an altitude of more than 28,000 feet and reached a maximum speed of 78 miles per hour during a day over Switzerland. The solar energy plan was powered overnight by energy collected during the day from solar panels on its 210-foot wingspan. Organizers said the flight was the longest and highest by a solar-powered craft.
Solar plane appears to be the poster child for solar energy
The Solar Impulse record-breaking flight took seven years of preparing and brings the Swiss-led project one step closer to its goal of flying Solar Impulse around the world powered only by the solar energy. It was reported by the Associated Press that although the objective is to prove that emissions-free air travel is possible with Solar Impulse, the flight team said it doesn't see solar energy replacing jet propulsion any time soon. Instead, the project is intended to test and promote new energy-efficient technologies.
Billions are given to solar energy companies through stimulus package
Speaking of new energy-efficient technologies, President Obama announced during his weekly address the U.S. Department of Energy will pledge $ 1.85 billion from the economic stimulus package to two solar energy companies: Abengoa Solar and Abound Solar Manufacturing. The International Business Times reports that Abengoa Solar will build the first ever large-scale solar energy power plant in Arizona with $ 1.45 billion in funding. Developers explain that the project will create more than 1,600 construction jobs and clean energy for 70,000 homes. Abound Solar Manufacturing will build a plant that manufactures solar panels in Colorado and another in Indiana with $ 400 million in funding. The solar panel factories are expected to create more than 2,000 construction jobs, conserve energy for 200,000 homes, and produce more than 1,500 permanent clean energy jobs.
PACE program provides solar panels for home
Clean energy initiatives focusing on solar energy are gaining momentum on many fronts. But the U.S. housing market is running true to form. As outlined by Trading Markets, the Obama administration's Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program is falling into the black hole of Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae. The PACE program is allocating $ 150 million in loans for local governments which they can then lend to you to cover the upfront costs solar panels for your home. Over time the loans are paid off with property tax bills.
Cloud cast over solar energy by Fannie and Freddie
With PACE, residential solar energy could have been headed for a big boost. But Fannie and Freddie, federal agencies that guarantee more than 50 percent of U.S. mortgages, are overwhelmed with millions of foreclosures. Officials in charge of the agencies, which have cost U.S. taxpayers more than $ 145 billion in losses, assume people will start defaulting on PACE mortgages also. Both Fannie and Freddie have issued letters to mortgage sellers stating that they will not accept loans for homes using the program.
More details accessible at these sites:
New York Times
International Business Times