U.S. Pledges $13 Million for Solar Energy Projects
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced more than $13 million in funding for solar technologies. The funding is part of the administration’s Solar America Initiative and will support the development of more efficient solar panels, known as photovoltaic devices.
The initiative aims to make solar power cost competitive with conventional electricity sources and increase the nation’s energy diversity by 2015, by developing materials that convert sunlight directly to electricity.
The $13 million in funding includes $4.5 million to be awarded for fiscal year 2007. The money will support a number of projects, including the Solar Codes and Standards Working Group Leadership that will create and operate a national working group to manage solar codes and standards. The five-year project will assist in the implementation, development of codes and standards studies, and the monitoring of emerging codes and standards issues.
Another project earmarked for funding will focus on the creation of a national voluntary photovoltaic module rating standard, including performance, reliability, safety, anticipated degradations, and operational limits, as well as the establishment of testing procedures and protocols for the standard’s use. The project is planned to last three years, at $1 million per year, for a total project value of $3 million.
The funding also will aid a city strategic partnership initiative, whereby the Energy Department will work to accelerate the adoption of solar technology at the local level by engaging city governments and users of electricity. The cost-shared project is two years in duration and has a total project value of $3.2 million.
The DOE also pledged $17.5 million for 17 biomass research, development and demonstration projects, and $4 million for biomass genomics research.