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.
- Solar Hot Water Business Council
- Solar Water Heating Demonstration Projects and Best Practices Manual
- Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing
- Solar School Swap
- Solar Now! Regional Outreach Campaign
- Neighborhood-Based Volume Solar Purchasing
- Residential Solar Power Purchase Agreement Model for Utility-Bill Financing
- Neighborhood-Scale Distributed Energy Systems
- Solar Rebate Program Expansion and Third Party PPA Legal Analysis
- Financing Options for Mid to Large Scale Solar Systems
- Solar Financing Options for Multifamily Affordable Housing
- Solar-Powered Fire Shelter Integration into Disaster Response Planning
- Debt-Financed Solar Water Heating Retrofits for Affordable Housing
- San Francisco Sustainable Financing Program (SF2)
- Commercial Solar Power Purchase Agreement Model
- Solar Financing for Public Schools
- Property Assessed Solar Financing through Joint Powers Authority
- Solar Loans for City Staff
- Qualified Energy Conservation Bond Financing for Revolving Solar Loan Fund
- Streamlined Regional Solar Permitting Process
- Solar Train the Trainer Internship Program
- Solar Career Training for At-Risk Youth
- Green Vision Education and Demonstration Center
- Creative Financing for Municipal Solar Installations
- Solar One Stop Shop
- Solar Integration into Green Building Codes and Infrastructure Planning
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.