In a December 10 statement, the DOE said $21 million would be spent over the next five years on designing plug-and-play photovoltaic systems that would make the process of purchasing and installing solar technologies quicker and less expensive. The USA's Center for Sustainable Energy Systems and North Carolina State University will lead the projects to develop the PV technology and components. UPI reported that the plug-and-play technology would allow operators to install PV systems in one day.
Another $8 million would be invested into two projects that will help utilities and grid operators better forecast the amount of electricity that could be produced at U.S. solar energy plants. Researchers will be working with the DOE and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to improve the accuracy of solar forecasts.
"The price of solar panels has fallen dramatically in recent years, but we also need to reduce the cost and time required to actually install them in homes and businesses, and help utility companies better integrate renewable energy into the grid." said Energy Secretary Steven Chu in the DOE release. "Projects like these can help reduce the cost of solar power and make it easier for American families and businesses to access clean, affordable energy."