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

April 23, 2014

Energy Department Announces $15 Million to Help Communities Boost Solar Deployment

The Energy Department on April 17 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 power, with total U.S. solar energy installations reaching 13 gigawatts last year. 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 Department’s SunShot Initiative, the Solar Market Pathways funding opportunity aims to help communities develop solar deployment plans that focus on cutting red tape and building strong public-private partnerships to deploy commercial-scale solar. 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, thereby reducing overall costs and giving more consumers access to renewable power. See the Energy Department news release and the funding announcement.