This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

June 17, 2009

DOE to Invest $49 Million in 24 Solar Projects and Solar Training

DOE announced on June 11 its selection of 24 projects to research, develop, and design new manufacturing and product improvements that could cut costs for a substantial segment of the solar photovoltaic industry in the near future. The competitively-selected projects will be eligible for a total of up to $22 million in Recovery Act funds, which will be matched by more than $50 million in cost-shared funding from private partners. The projects include new manufacturing processes, films, and coatings for solar photovoltaic devices; monitoring devices that can be used to control the manufacturing process or for quality control; and entire solar power systems. The projects also include efforts to recycle scraps of solar-grade silicon produced during manufacturing, employ an ion beam to reduce the reflectance of solar modules, increase the light absorption of a solar cell by creating pits on its surface with a laser, trap light within thin crystalline silicon solar cells using diffraction gratings, and develop materials that "downshift" high-energy ultraviolet light to a lower-energy light that can be efficiently converted into electricity in a solar cell. See the list of the 24 new solar projects.

Photo of two men wearing hardhats, sunglasses, tool belts, safety harnesses, and work boots and carrying a solar module while walking on a sloped metal roof. Behind them are other solar modules that have already been installed.

DOE will invest up to $27 million to help train solar installers. Enlarge this photo.
Credit: Craig Miller Productions

DOE also announced plans to offer up to $27 million to develop the nation's infrastructure for solar installation training. DOE will fund this effort using $5 million from the Recovery Act, as well as $22 million in annual appropriations. The funds will go to a single national organization that will facilitate the development and distribution of model training curricula, best practices in training, and information on solar career pathways. A select number of regional training centers will also receive funding to offer solar instructors advanced courses on solar technologies, instructional design, and course development. The funds will help create green jobs by ensuring that a trained workforce is ready to support significant growth in solar energy. Applications are due on July 30. See the DOE press release and view the solicitation by searching the public opportunities on FedConnect for reference number DE-FOA-0000078.