DOE announces $87 million for solar projects

Solar cities map

Speaking at the opening of the Solar Decathlon on the National Mall Thursday, Sec. of Energy Steven Chu announced a new round of funding totaling $87 million to “help accelerate the use of solar energy by residents, businesses and communities…”

The money will fund projects in four areas:

  • High Penetration Solar Deployment. Seven projects will model, test, and evaluate the impact of large amounts of photovoltaic (PV) electricity on the reliability and stability of the electric power system. These projects will help pave the way for broader adoption and growth of grid-tied solar energy systems by improving understanding of the impact of PV electricity on the grid.
  • Solar Installer Training. Nine colleges, universities, and local organizations have been selected to lead regional solar installation “train-the-trainer” programs. The projects will support a national ramp-up and coordinated network of training programs. This funding will help address the critical needs for qualified solar energy system installers.
  • Research Projects at DOE National Laboratories. Fifteen projects at DOE National Laboratories will seek to improve technologies, devices and processes for both the PV and Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) industry. PV projects focus on development of next generation devices and processes, as well as supply chain technologies for the entire PV system. CSP projects focus on improved energy storage technologies to enable consistent and reliable energy generation.
  • Solar American Cities Special Projects. As the load centers of energy use across the nation, cities play a strategic role in accelerating solar technology adoption at the local level. Sixteen cities have been selected for projects that will address specific barriers to solar adoption in urban settings and support innovative approaches that can be widely replicated. Many cities will use this funding for multiple efforts.

The “Solar American Cities” and their specific projects are listed below.

Austin, TX

O'Henry Middle School, solar education program, Austin

O'Henry Middle School, solar education program, Austin

Berkeley, CA

Boston, MA

Madison, WI

Milwaukee, WI

Minneapolis – Saint Paul, MN

Solar powered ice cream company, St. Paul

Solar powered ice cream company, St. Paul

New Orleans, LA

New York City, NY

Portland, OR

Solar parking meter, Portland

Solar parking meter, Portland

Salt Lake City, UT

San Diego, CA

San Francisco, CA

San José, CA

Santa Rosa, CA

Seattle, WA

Tucson, AZ

Solar panels, Tucson

Solar panels, Tucson

Turning, small

US Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) issued a statement after Chu’s announcement, stating “This award will allow the city of Tucson to continue its leadership in the use of solar energy.”

Giffords is the author of the Solar Technology Roadmap Act, which was passed yesterday by the House Committee on Science and Technology and may be voted on by the full House before the end of the year. For more on the “Roadmap,” click here.

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