WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it has selected 13 industry-led solar technology projects to negotiate for up to $168 million in funding starting in the current fiscal year (2007) through fiscal year 2009. The teams will share more than 50 percent of the project costs, for a total value of up to $357 million over three years.
The solar projects are expected to help increase the annual U.S. production capacity for photovoltaic (PV) systems from the 2005 level of 240 megawatts to 2,850 megawatts by 2010. Such an increase could reduce the cost of electricity produced by PV systems from the current level of 18 to 23 cents per kilowatt-hour to a more competitive 5 to 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The teams selected have formed Technology Pathway Partnerships, which include more than 50 companies, 14 universities, three nonprofit organizations, and two DOE national laboratories: the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories. The projects focus on a variety of technologies, including concentrating PV systems; crystalline silicon solar cells; thin-film PV technologies; organic solar cells; PV-integrated roofing products; PV modules with integrated electronics, including inverters; and manufacturing systems for silicon ingots, solar cells, and PV modules.