Two months ago, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Gov. Jerry Brown announced that Solar Millennium’s Blythe solar plant would mean 1,000 jobs would be created, as well as producing around $460 million for the local economy.
The government vision of jobs and money for the state now halted as Solar Trust of America, Solar Millennium’s parent company, announced the 1,000-megawatt project got suspended until they have completed all the tools required for the big project. The companies now force to abandon the original plan of solar thermal technology; instead, they are just going to resort on using a less expensive and less complex photovoltaic.
Business manager for the Inland Empire’s Building and Construction Trades Council says the new is both terrible and devastating for them. The project expected to be the answer for some of their people laid off from their respective jobs.
He added that the solar project would have been a way to recover in the construction industry. However, that is all a dream now as everything would be reset back to where they started.
The delay would mean there would be a lot of lay offs in the job, which would result to an even weaker economy.
Solar thermal, also known as concentrated solar, creates electricity from heat gathered in reflective, solar channels. Photovoltaic, solar panels produce electricity directly from the light of the sun.
Brett Prior, a senior analyst with GTM Research, a Boston-based green technology market analysis firm, believes that there will be a 50 percent people, who are going to lose their job.
Edward Sullivan, Solar Trust’s vice president for external affairs, accepted the fact that using photovoltaic panels would mean fewer jobs overall but add that there will be more jobs for local employees as installing solar panels does not the services of an expert.
He said that, in the current round of submitting proposals to utilities, they prepared bids for PV projects at one more site along the I-10 corridor. After carefully looking at the money matters of the bid, they have applied the same models to Blythe and came to resolve, although, late in the game, that PV was a better alternative.
The alteration also means the project not qualified for the $2.1 billion federal loan guarantee, bestowed earlier this year. It is going to be financed by means of commercial markets.
Solar Millennium’s has other project on the Interstate 10 corridor is the 500-megawatt Panel solar plant, also a solar thermal project, just waiting for the final endorsement from the BLM.