U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman on February 8 announced the selection of 13 industry-led solar technology development projects for negotiation for up to $168 million (FY’07-’09) in funding, subject to appropriation from Congress. These projects will help significantly reduce the cost of producing and distributing solar energy. As part of the cost-shared agreements, the industry-led teams will contribute more than 50 percent of the funding for these projects for a total value of up to $357 million over three years. These cooperative agreements, to be negotiated, will be the first made available as part of President Bush’s Solar America Initiative (SAI), a component of his Advanced Energy Initiative (AEI), announced in his 2006 State of the Union Address.
These projects enable the projected expansion of the annual U.S. manufacturing capacity of PV systems from 240 MW in 2005 to as much as 2,850 MW by 2010, representing more than a ten-fold increase. Such capacity would also put the U.S. industry on track to reduce the cost of electricity produced by PV from current levels of $0.18-$0.23 per kWh to $0.05 - $0.10 per kWh by 2015 – a price that is competitive in markets nationwide.