DOE Invests $13M to Drive Innovative US Solar Mfg.

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The Department of Energy announced more than $13 million for five projects to strengthen domestic solar manufacturing and speed commercialization of efficient, affordable photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies. As part of the Department’s SunShot Initiative, these awards are expected to help lower the cost of solar electricity, support a growing U.S. solar workforce, and increase U.S. competitiveness in the global clean energy market.

“The strong, continued growth in the U.S. solar industry over the past few years is giving more and more Americans access to affordable clean energy,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “We have a tremendous opportunity for American manufacturing to lead the global clean energy market and help pave the way to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.”

According to a new U.S. solar industry report , the U.S. solar market continues to grow – reaching record-breaking levels. In Q3 2013, the United States installed 930MW of photovoltaic, up 20% over Q2 2013 and representing the second largest quarter in solar installations in U.S. history. Cumulatively, solar capacity has already surpassed 10GW and by the end of the year more than 400,000 solar projects will be operating across the country.

During President Obama’s first term, the United States more than doubled generation of electricity from wind, solar, and geothermal sources. Obama has set a goal to double renewable electricity generation once again by 2020. As the cost of solar continues to fall and deployment expands, strong domestic manufacturing could help make solar technologies even more affordable, while giving more and more American families and businesses access to affordable, clean energy.

Matched by over $14 million in private cost share, the Energy Department’s investment will help five companies in California, Colorado, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Oregon develop cost-effective manufacturing processes for photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies. For example, Colorado-based Abengoa Solar will develop new methods to produce concentrating solar power trough systems, helping to lower overall production costs and support easy and quick on-site assembly. PPG Industries, headquartered in Pennsylvania, will lead a project to cut solar module manufacturing costs in half, while Georgia-based Suniva will develop a low-cost highly efficient silicon photovoltaic cell.

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