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U.S. Massive Solar Investment
On April 20, the Biden administration announced plans to invest over $80 million to increase solar panel production, expand access to solar energy, and explore alternative options to the widely-used silicon panels in the United States. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is scheduled to visit a community solar site in Washington later in the day, after the Department of Energy announced the funding in the morning. The administration plans to allocate $52 million for 19 solar projects in twelve states, including $10 million from the infrastructure law, and an additional $30 million for technology that can integrate solar power into the grid.
Furthermore, the DOE has chosen 25 teams to participate in a $10 million competition aimed at expediting the efforts of solar developers working on community solar projects. While the Inflation Reduction Act already provides incentives for large-scale solar projects, this new funding seeks to achieve the nation’s climate goals while benefiting more communities. According to White House national climate advisor Ali Zaidi, the investment aims to boost the economy in every part of America and uplift workers and communities.
According to Becca Jones-Albertus, the director of the Energy Department’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, the investment will make solar energy more accessible to people and improve the reliability, security, and resilience of the electricity grid in response to climate change. She is particularly excited about the funding for community solar projects, as nearly half of Americans do not have access to rooftop solar panels. Community solar projects allow households to invest in or subscribe to a portion of a larger solar array located offsite. The goal is for five million households to have access to community solar by 2025, saving them $1 billion on electricity bills.
The new funding also supports the development of next-generation solar technologies, such as perovskite and cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells, which could significantly increase the amount of electricity produced by solar panels. Currently, crystalline silicon solar cells, which comprise most solar panels, only convert about 20% of the sun’s energy into electricity. By investing in these alternatives, the U.S. can become a leader in addressing the climate crisis through innovation, according to White House national climate advisor Ali Zaidi.
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