U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman has announced the awarding of nearly $60 million to increase the municipal use of solar power in the U.S.
The first set of awards, totaling $2.5 billion, was issued to thirteen cities selected to participate in the Solar America Cities program. The 2007 Solar America Cities – Ann Arbor, Mich.; Austin, Texas; Berkeley, Calif.; Boston; Madison, Wis.; New Orleans; New York; Pittsburgh; Portland, Ore.; Salt Lake City; San Diego; San Francisco; and Tucson, Ariz. – will receive financial assistance for solar projects as well as DOE assistance with technical, policy, business and regulatory matters related to implementation of the projects, according to DOE.
The second set of awards consists of a $30 million funding opportunity announcement (FOA) in support of research and development that will lower costs, increase availability, and improve the efficiency of photovoltaic (PV) solar products, DOE says. Over the next three years, this funding is intended to support university work on materials and process research to yield near-term improvements in solar products.
In addition, DOE funding was granted for ten cost-shared photovoltaic module incubator projects, which will receive up to $27 million over 18 months. DOE adds that incubator project funding is structured so that companies receive funding from the department only upon successful performance of pre-specified new hardware. Contingent on congressional appropriations, the department will provide opportunities for new companies to enter this program every nine months.