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Department of Energy Doles Out $46.2 Million for Solar Power Projects

The Department of Energy announced last week that American taxpayers are providing millions of dollars to develop solar power projects across the country, including funding for seven companies in California and $2 million to a solar business in Texas, home of Energy Secretary and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

A total of $46.2 million will be given to 20 solar power projects “to develop innovative, early-stage solar power technologies, which are aimed at lowering costs and improving reliability and efficiency,” the press release announcing the funding said.

“The SunShot Initiative is a proven driver of solar energy innovation,” SunShot Initiative Director Charlie Gay said in the press release. “These projects ensure there’s a pipeline of knowledge, human resources, transformative technology solutions, and research to support the industry.”

The funding requires “cost share requirements” to leverage a total of $65 million from “public and private investment.”

“The funds provided are cooperative agreements that involve substantial federal oversight and consist of go/no go technical benchmarks, which reinforce attentive project stewardship,” according to the Department of Energy.

“To maintain solar energy’s current growth trajectory, the industry needs a wide variety of products and services that can increase system values while reducing costs, increase consumer access to solar, and facilitate solar grid integration,” the press release said. “Despite solar’s rapid growth, the challenge remains for small businesses to find funding for early-stage, transformative technology research and development.”

One year ago, in July of 2016, the Obama administration launched the “Clean Energy for All Americans Initiative.”

“The Obama administration is making a new large-scale effort to encourage deployment and use of rooftop solar power on homes,” the Hill reported.

“Numerous agencies announced new or strengthened coordinated efforts … aimed at increasing solar installations in houses owned by low- and moderate-income Americans, including a new goal for solar installations and a policy change to increase access to a key financing mechanism for solar power and energy efficiency,” the Hill reported, noting that the push for solar power “skyrocketed” under Obama even if the industry represents just a sliver of electricity generation in the United States.

“Generating capacity in the solar industry has skyrocketed under Obama, growing more than threefold from 2008 to 2015,” the Hill reported.

“Still, solar power is a small sliver of the country’s total electricity generation, representing only 0.6 percent last year, according to the Energy Information Administration,” the Hill reported.

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