US SunShot Initiative releases $13m for community solar projects


The SunShot Initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking to strengthen local solar markets and community-backed programs across the country, and has released $13 million in funding to help local governments achieve their renewable goals.

SunShot’s Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC) program will use the funds to establish greater national recognition of the benefits of solar, and will develop a technical assistance program designed to make it easier for local governments to understand how to make solar a viable investment for U.S. homes and businesses.

Recipients of the funding will be able to administer a national recognition program that will seek to share best practice with communities that have installed local solar projects, examining ways to cut red tape at local government level, market solar’s potential and improve local solar market conditions.

Participating communities in the SPARC program will gain access to a network of recognized leaders in the solar PV field nationwide, where they can receive expert assistance for their solar marketing campaigns and the wider goal of making communities consider solar power as a cost-effective, clean alternative to traditional energy sources.

This latest campaign from SunShot comes shortly after it backed solar R&D funding to the tune of $9 million in December. That particular campaign was designed to help U.S. researchers improve module quality and performance via better predictive modeling and accelerated testing techniques.

SunShot also steers funds towards solar companies it believes are working towards greater integration of solar PV into the U.S. energy landscape, and last month granted $3 million to Siva Power to develop its CIGS co-evaporation deposition process.