US President Barack Obama said the federal government would spend $467 million from the recent $787 billion US economic stimulus package to expand and accelerate the development and use of solar and geothermal energy throughout the United States while speaking at Nellis Air Force Base, in Nevada, home to one of the largest solar electric plants in the Western Hemisphere.
"More than 72,000 solar panels built on part of an old landfill provide 25 percent of the electricity for the 12,000 people who live and work here at Nellis. That's the equivalent of powering about 13,200 homes during the day," Obama said.
"We have to lay a new foundation for prosperity, a foundation constructed on the pillars that will grow our economy and help America compete in the 21st century. And a renewable energy revolution is one of those pillars.
The US solar energy industry grew about 9 percent in 2008, but the recession cut demand for some solar installations. The housing crisis led to a 3 percent decline in shipments of solar pool heating systems -- the largest segment of the sector by capacity.
The US Energy Department in March offered its first loan guarantee, worth $535 million, to Fremont, California, solar company Solyndra Inc.
(With files from Reuters)