Energy Department Offers $60 Million to Spur Solar Innovations

The U.S. Energy Department will award $60 million to local governments, universities and companies to accelerate the development of solar power.

About $16 million in grants will be given to four projects seeking to boost cell efficiency and $12 million will be spread among 17 solar technology and service companies, according to an Energy Department statement today.

About $8 million will be given to utilities to assist with integrating renewable energy into the power grid. Other recipients are promoting education and job-training efforts, and developing more reliable components.

“These awards will help lower the cost of solar electricity, advance seamless grid integration and support a growing U.S. solar workforce,” according to the statement. The industry supports about 119,000 U.S. workers.

The funds, awarded as part of the SunShot Initiative started in 2011, also will be used to reduce the costs of permitting, installing and connecting solar systems.