DOE announced on June 20th that it will provide up to $60 million for solar energy research. Up to $2.5 million will go to 13 selected cities to promote the use of solar technologies in each city, under DOE's Solar America Cities cooperative agreements. In addition, DOE released a funding opportunity announcement as part of its Solar America Initiative, offering universities up to $30 million to research near-term improvements in solar cell technologies. DOE will also award up to $27 million to ten competitively selected, cost-shared Photovoltaic Module Incubator projects at businesses located in California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. These ten businesses will address the challenges related to reducing cost, improving performance, and expanding manufacturing capacity of innovative solar photovoltaic technologies to move from small-scale to pilot production.
The 2007 Solar America Cities were identified as large cities with a high electricity demand and were chosen based on their plans for and commitment to deploying solar technologies. The cities are Ann Arbor, Michigan; Austin, Texas; Berkeley, California; Boston, Massachusetts; Madison, Wisconsin; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York, New York; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Diego, California; San Francisco, California; and Tucson, Arizona. In addition to the funds, the cities will receive hands-on assistance from technical and policy experts who will help cities integrate and promote solar technologies and streamline regulations for the use of solar in homes and business.