U.S. Energy Department announces $10 Million investment in innovative solar projects

(Nanowerk News) In support of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Energy Department this week announced 10 small business-led projects to speed solar energy innovation from the lab to the marketplace. Through the Department's SunShot Initiative, this $10 million investment will help significantly reduce the total installed cost of solar energy systems and strengthen American leadership in this growing global industry. According to a new report by The Solar Foundation, the U.S. solar industry employs more than 119,000 people, representing a 13% increase in these high-skilled American jobs over last year.
The SunShot Initiative's Incubator program helps launch new start-ups and business units within existing companies to accelerate innovative solar technology development, ensuring that the United States remains competitive globally. Since 2007, the Department has invested more than $92 million through the Incubator program in promising technologies as they are brought from the lab to the marketplace. These investments have attracted nearly $1.7 billion in follow-on private investment, at a ratio of nearly $20 in subsequent private sector support for every $1 of federal support.
The projects selected will tackle a range of solutions, including advances in photovoltaics, energy storage, balance of system hardware and power electronics as well as streamlined interconnection. For example, New Jersey-based Qado Energy is leading a project to commercialize a computing platform that reduces utility interconnection expenses, decreases wait times for interconnection, and lowers developer financing costs. Based in California, QBotix is building an advanced robotic controller that can travel between solar trackers and automatically adjust them to follow the sun.
The SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort to make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade. Inspired by President Kennedy's "Moon Shot" program that put the first man on the moon, the SunShot Initiative has created new momentum for the solar industry by highlighting the need for American competitiveness in the clean energy race.
Source: U.S. Department of Energy