US: DoE announces $32m extra solar funding

The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) will pour an additional $32 million in funding into the country’s solar industry in an effort to bring further maturation and expertise to the sector.

The funding program will see up to $12 million spent on developing the U.S. solar support workforce, including training professionals within the real estate and the utility industries on the benefits of solar.

This is part of President Obama’s Solar Ready Vets initiative, which includes the goal of training 75,000 solar workers by 2020.

There will also be $5 million spent on improving market transparency and access to key energy datasets concerning solar energy, including financial performance information and electricity production figures. The intention is to enable existing solar databases across the U.S. PV network to interact in a more efficient way.

A further $15 million will go into the U.S.’s concentrating solar power (CSP) industry, chiefly on creating new and more efficient designs for CSP collectors.

“To ensure the continued growth of the U.S. solar industry and our clean energy economy, it is critical that we support workforce training programs that will give American workers the skills they need for well-paying jobs and also make sure American consumers have access to highly trained, credentialed professionals when they choose solar to power their daily lives,” said DoE deputy secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall.

Yesterday, a report from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) revealed that the U.S. added just 50 MW of new large-scale solar PV projects in April, spread across just six individual projects. These figures, however, do not take into account the great strides made each month in the U.S. residential and commercial PV sectors.