This week, the White House announced $120 million in programming designed to scale up solar energy across the country. In a series of executive actions, the president outlined his plan to fund projects in 24 states that encourage the technological innovation, growth and cost reduction necessary to bring solar energy to scale across the country.
Technology to Market
The first executive action of this week's clean energy initiative announces the second annual round of the Department of Energy's (DOE) Technology to Market program. This funding opportunity offers $30 million to U.S. manufacturers, collegiate entrepreneurs and small businesses developing tools and technologies that reduce the cost of solar energy systems across all technology areas. Last year's efforts focused primarily on finding ways to more easily and efficiently make national laboratory innovations available for public use.
Photovoltaics Research and Development
This year, the DOE will also fund a Photovoltaics Research and Development program. This funding opportunity will support projects geared towards advancing the limits of photovoltaic solar panel performance. This $20 million program will support up to 35 projects working to improve the power conversion efficiency, fielded energy output, service lifetime and the manufacturing processes of commercial and emerging solar technologies.
Solar Powering America
In a third measure, the DOE's SunShot program will establish a national recognition and technical assistance program for local governments. The $13 million program, called "Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities," will reward municipalities that are most solar-friendly and best facilitate their residents' access to solar energy.
The DOE is not the only department playing a role in the recent clean energy initiative.The Department of Agriculture (DOA) is kicking off a program to promote the use of clean energy technologies in rural areas. To combat rural America's typically high energy prices, DOA is awarding nearly $8 million in grants for projects that bring the cost of rural energy down using clean power sources. For example, one such grant is going to an initiative that will provide electricity, refrigeration, cooking and water distillation to native Hawaiians using only solar power.
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