In support of the Obama administration’s goal of doubling renewable energy generation for a second time by 2020, the U.S. Energy Department has announced $15 million to help communities develop multi-year solar plans to install affordable solar electricity for homes and businesses. The United States continues to be a global leader in solar, with total U.S. solar energy installations reaching 13 gigawatts in 2013. As the cost of solar energy continues to decline, more states and local communities are deploying solar energy projects to meet their electricity needs.
“As part of the President’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, solar energy is helping families and businesses throughout the U.S. access affordable, clean renewable power,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “The Energy Department is committed to further driving down the cost of solar energy and supporting innovative community-based programs — creating more jobs, reducing carbon pollution and boosting economic growth.”
As part of the Department’s SunShot Initiative, the Solar Market Pathways funding opportunity aims to help communities develop solar deployment plans that focus on cutting red tape, building strong public-private partnerships to deploy commercial-scale solar. As part of these solar deployment plans, communities will establish innovative financing mechanisms and launch creative community-based initiatives, such as shared solar programs. Shared solar programs give families and businesses the opportunity to own, lease, or purchase electricity from a share of a larger solar project — reducing overall costs and giving more consumers access to renewable power.
Broadly, the Energy Department funding will help drive affordable, efficient solar power in the United States and help industry partners meet the SunShot Initiative goal to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade. Find more information on the Solar Market Pathways funding opportunity, including application requirements, on the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy website.