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

December 18, 2013

Energy Department Invests $13 Million in U.S. Solar Manufacturing

The Energy Department on December 11 announced more than $13 million in funding for five projects to strengthen domestic solar manufacturing and speed commercialization of efficient, affordable photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies. As part of the Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative, these awards will help lower the cost of solar electricity, support a growing U.S. solar workforce, and increase U.S. competitiveness in the global clean energy market.

Matched by more than $14 million in private cost sharing, the Energy Department’s investment will help five companies in California, Colorado, Georgia, Oregon, and Pennsylvania to develop cost-effective manufacturing processes for photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies. For example, Colorado-based Abengoa Solar will develop new methods to produce concentrating solar power trough systems, helping to lower overall production costs and support easy and quick on-site assembly. PPG Industries, headquartered in Pennsylvania, will lead a project to cut solar module manufacturing costs in half, while Georgia-based Suniva will develop a low-cost highly efficient silicon photovoltaic cell. The investment will help industry partners meet the SunShot Initiative’s goal to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade.

According to a new U.S. solar industry report, the U.S. solar market continues to grow, reaching record-breaking levels. In the third quarter of 2013, the United States installed 930 megawatts of photovoltaic power, up 20% over the previous quarter, and representing the second-largest quarter of solar installations in U.S. history. Cumulatively, solar capacity has already surpassed 10 gigawatts, and by the end of the year, more than 400,000 solar projects will be operating across the country. See the Energy Department press release and the list of companies.