The U.S. Department of Energy added $77 million to stimulate solar and wind development in their SunShot initiative. By reducing the cost of photovoltaic solar energy systems by 75%, DOE hopes to make these systems cost competitive within in the next ten years. This reduction will bring the cost for utility scale installations down to $1 a Watt, allowing solar systems to be more affordable and commonplace.
U.S. Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, states "These efforts will boost our economic competitiveness, rebuild our manufacturing industry, and help reach the President's goal of doubling our clean energy in the next 25 years." The SunShot initiative will focus on both improving solar cell technology and streamlining local permitting processes. This focus on streamlining is extremely important, as one of the major roadblocks faced by solar companies and investors is the lack of a common permit process, resulting in slow and expensive procedures. Read more about the need for a common permit process in our previous blog.
The major focuses of Sunshot will be:
• Technologies for solar cells and arrays that convert sunlight to energy;
• Electronics that optimize the performance of the installation;
• Improvements in the efficiency of solar manufacturing processes;
• Installation, design and permitting for solar energy systems
The DOE will also be awarding $27 million to 9 new renewable energy projects. Five of these will be geared towards further developing U.S. supply chains for PV manufacturing. These five projects are spread throughout the U.S. and focus on various parts of the U.S. energy supply chain. Read further about the SunShot initiative and where other DOE funding will go.
While none of the 5 projects are located in Illinois, we can take advantage of this heightened interest in solar power and support from DOE. We want to spread the word that Illinois is a leader in the Midwest transition to renewable energy by displaying our solar companies, jobs and forward thinking. How can you help? Publicize your solar jobs! Find out how in our previous blog and fill out this short survey about solar jobs in your company. We hope that the SunShot initiative will improve solar technology, streamline permitting processes and make energy systems more affordable. But we also have to show the rest of the country that Illinois is Ready for Solar, and that we are a leader in this field.