Energy Secretary Announces $13 M to Fund Solar Energy Technologies

The $13 million in funding for new research in solar technologies just announced by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman, which is part of President Bush’s $148 million Solar America Initiative (SAI), will support the development of more efficient solar photovoltaic panels.

The President’s fiscal year 2007 $148 million request for the Solar America Initiative is a $65 million (78%) increase over the current appropriation, to accelerate the development of semiconductor materials that convert sunlight directly to electricity. The $13 million in funding, including about $4.5 million to be awarded for FY 2007, will support a number of projects: — Solar Codes and Standards Working Group Leadership, a project that will create and operate a national working group to manage solar codes and standards; — National Voluntary Photovoltaic (PV) Module Performance Rating System, to focus on the creation of a national voluntary PV (photovoltaic) module rating standard, including testing procedures and protocols for the standard’s use; — City Strategic Partnerships, through which the DOE will work to accelerate the adoption of solar technology at the local level by engaging city governments and users of electricity; — State Strategic Partnerships, under which the DOE will enlist the assistance of select state membership organizations as strategic partners on solar issues; — Utility Strategic Partnerships in which the DOE will enlist the assistance of select utility membership organizations as strategic partners to deliver key assistance to utilities to enable the success of the SAI. “This investment is a major step in our mission to bring clean, renewable solar power to the nation,” Secretary Bodman said. “If we are able to harness more of the sun’s power and use it to provide energy to homes and businesses, we can increase our energy diversity and strengthen our nation’s energy security.”