Here’s the latest action we’re following today on the GreenBeat:

Oregon geothermal project wins $96.8 million loan guarantee — The Department of Energy has finalized a loan guarantee to a project sponsored by U.S. Geothermal. The funds will go to back the construction of a 23 megawatt geothermal power project in southeastern Oregon, known as Neal Hot Springs.

Germany cuts solar subsidies by 15 percent — The cuts came six months earlier than planned, according to Reuters. The solar industry has long been jittery about German plans to reduce subsidies. Its generous incentives for solar project allowed the country to make up nearly half of last year’s global demand for photovoltaic panels.

HelioVolt could be acquired — The venture-backed thin-film firm based in Austin, Tex. is “in discussion to be acquired,” according to a company executive who spoke with Greentech Media. The executive, Iga Hallberg, referred to Fortune 100 companies that are interested in buying HelioVolt and said they expect to make an announcement in “a matter of weeks.” The company recently raised $8.5 million through the sale of debt securities and was looking to raise another $1.5 million, according to SEC filings.

First Solar looks for growing markets — The company released its fourth quarter 2010 earnings yesterday that showed declining sales and said it was looking to expand to new and developing markets like India, China, Australia and the Middle East, Earth2Tech writes. Demand in Europe has been expected to slow this year due to cutbacks in government subsidies that previously drove demand, though some have argued stronger than expected demand in the U.S. and Italy will make up for it, at least for the first quarter of the year.

Ethanol support could fall in national budget cuts — Ethanol supporter and congressman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he would be willing to “bite the bullet” and allow ethanol supports to fall if it was necessary to cut down the national deficit. In particular, a bill circulating the Senate would bar the EPA from increasing the percentage of ethanol in gasoline and offering subsidies for gas stations retrofitted to sell E15 (15 percent ethanol), Autoblog Green writes.