The United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced plans this week to invest approximately $59 million in solar energy manufacturing. This move is part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to double the country’s production of renewable energy by 2020 — for a second time.
The funds proposed by the DOE will include $45 million towards direct manufacturing of solar panels, batteries and other solar energy-related equipment, as well as an additional $14 million in awards for various projects which aim to help communities develop their own solar energy plans. Awardees of the $14 million includes nonprofit organization, power/utility companies, universities, and local schools in California, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and Washington, DC.
Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said the push towards greater solar energy production in the U.S. falls in line with President Obama’s State of The Union Address, during which the President noted that the U.S produces as much solar power every three weeks as it did in all of 2008. That’s a pretty bold statement that attests to the growing potential of solar energy.
“As President Obama noted in his State of the Union address, the U.S. brings as much solar power online every three weeks as we did in all of 2008,” said Ernest Moniz, nuclear physicist and the current United States Secretary of Energy. “As the price of solar continues to drop, the Energy Department is committed to supporting a robust domestic solar manufacturing sector that will help American business meet growing demand and help American families and businesses save money by making solar a cheaper and more accessible source of clean electricity.“
Solar energy remains the preferred choice of renewable energy. Unlike coal-burning power plants, solar is completely clean and doesn’t emit greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. The panels capture sunlight in photovoltaic layers, at which point they are converted to usable energy before being transported to a battery bank. It’s a relatively simple setup that’s becoming more commonplace in both the commercial and residential sectors.
Report suggest that the U.S. currently produces 17 gigawatts of power annually through solar panel, which is enough to power nearly 3.5 million average American homes. But that’s not stopping officials from pushing for an greater production of solar energy. With the DOE’s new initiative on the horizon, deployment of solar energy is expected to grow in the months and years to come.