DOE invests $13 million to drive U.S. solar power manufacturing

The Department of Energy announced more than $13 million for five projects to strengthen domestic solar power manufacturing and speed commercialization of efficient, affordable photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies.

As part of the DOE's SunShot Initiative, these awards will help lower the cost of solar electricity, support a growing U.S. solar energy workforce and increase U.S. competitiveness in the global clean energy market.

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 U.S. installed 930 MW of photovoltaic, up 20 percent over Q2 2013 and representing the second largest quarter in solar installations in U.S. history. Cumulatively, solar capacity has already surpassed 10 GW and by the end of the year more than 400,000 solar power projects will be operating across the country.

Matched by over $14 million in private cost share, the DOE'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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