The US has given its biggest backing yet to a renewable energy project by guaranteeing $1.37bn in loans for a thermal solar power station.

The cash will go towards a California development by BrightSource Energy that uses the sun’s heat to power a steam turbine.

BrightSource’s proposed solar thermal plants are expected to generate around 400MW of electricity and power to approximately 140,000 California homes.

President Barack Obama’s administration has touted green energy investments as a way to create jobs and increase international economic competitiveness, reports Reuters.

“We’re not going to sit on the sidelines while other countries capture the jobs of the future – we’re committed to becoming the global leader in the clean energy economy,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement, reports the news agency.

The financing of projects has been a big challenge with the tightening of the credit markets.