On January 29, 2015, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced more than $59 million in funding for solar energy technologies and projects. DOE further clarified that the funding will be divided into two project categories – $45 million for solar manufacturing technologies that can be brought to market, and $14 million for community-based, multi-year deployment plans. DOE also noted that the funding will help support the White House’s effort to double renewable energy generation by year 2020.
Under DOE’s “Technology to Market” funding opportunity, DOE announced $45 million in funding that is designed to foster a strong solar market in the U.S by boosting American competiveness in the clean energy manufacturing sector. DOE stated the goal of this funding is to significantly reduce solar costs through a variety of technological areas, including photovoltaics and power electronics.
With regard to community deployment plans, DOE awarded $14 million in funding for 15 “Solar Market Pathway” projects that will develop solar plans designed to help deploy solar energy at residential, community, and commercial scales. These plans will also focus on exploring ways to reduce the “soft costs” – permitting, financing, and interconnection – of solar power. Eventually, DOE expects these projects will help provide a blueprint that can later be replicated in similar areas and communities.