The Wall Street Journal reports today that the Department of Energy has approved loan guarantees for two solar energy projects:

One deal, a $737 million loan guarantee for Solar Reserve LLC, paves the way for construction of the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy facility, which will use an array of mirrors to focus the sun's heat and power a steam generator.

A second $337 million loan guarantee announced Wednesday will back Sempra Energy's Mesquite Solar I project in Arizona, about 45 miles west of Phoenix. That 150-megawatt facility will use U.S.-made solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity.

The department still has several applications for loan guarantees pending, all of which will have to be finalized by Friday in order to be eligible for the economic-stimulus program. After Friday, the department can still make loan guarantees but will have less funding to do so.

The large loans come at a time of enhanced scrutiny toward the loan guarantee program after California solar energy manufacturing company Solyndra, which received a $535 million federal loan, filed for bankruptcy. The Solyndra factory, Bloomberg reports, built with federal dollars had "robots that whistled Disney tunes, spa-like showers with liquid-crystal displays of the water temperature, and glass-walled conference rooms."

Be sure to read Steven F. Hayward's story on Solyndra in this week's WEEKLY STANDARD.

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