The Biden administration is investing over $80 million to boost solar panel production in the US, increase accessibility to solar energy, and explore advanced alternatives to conventional silicon-based solar panels.
New funding also supports development of next-gen solar tech, such as perovskite and cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells, which offer greater efficiency and versatility than traditional silicon-based panels.
The Department of Energy (DOE) unveiled the investment plans, emphasizing community solar initiatives that cater to renters and those without direct control over their rooftops. This follows the recent announcement of the largest community solar effort in the country by Vice President Kamala Harris.
The DOE will allocate $52 million to 19 solar projects across 12 states, including $10 million from the infrastructure law. An additional $30 million will be directed towards technologies that facilitate solar electricity integration into the grid. Furthermore, 25 teams were chosen for a $10 million competition aimed at accelerating community solar project development.
While the Inflation Reduction Act offers incentives for large solar generation projects, the new funding focuses on advancing climate goals while benefiting more communities. The investment is expected to help people save on electricity bills and enhance the reliability, security, and resilience of the power grid.
Not all Americans are currently are a good fit for solar panels, which is why community solar projects are crucial, said Becca Jones-Albertus, director of the DOE's Solar Energy Technologies Office. Community solar projects allow households to invest in or subscribe to a portion of a larger, offsite solar array.
The new funding also supports the development of next-generation solar technologies, such as perovskite and cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells, which offer greater efficiency and versatility than traditional silicon-based panels.
Investments in solar panel recycling and the reuse of rare earth elements and materials will further minimize waste and ensure responsible disposal of solar panels. The administration aims to demonstrate that clean energy is suitable for every state in the country, highlighting the wide-ranging potential of solar energy.