The President's Solar America Initiative to Advance Market-Ready PV

March 7, 2007

The Department of Energy's Solar Energy Technologies Program has launched the Solar America Initiative (SAI) to help advance research and development (R&D) for the rapid commercialization of clean solar energy technologies, including photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power systems, and to decrease the cost of solar energy to be competitive with existing sources of electricity by 2015. The SAI is a Presidential initiative designed to encourage solar industry competition and foster technology innovation.

To achieve the goals of the SAI, the Solar Program will focus primarily on two areas: first on research and development on PV component and system designs including low-cost approaches for manufacturing, and second on activities that address marketplace barriers and offer the opportunity for market expansion. The SAI aims to provide 5 to 10 gigawatts of new electric capacity by 2015, enough electricity to power 1 to 2 million homes. While changing the way we power our homes and businesses, the President's initiative promotes domestic production of PV technologies, diversifies the nation's electricity portfolio, enhances grid reliability, and provides significant environmental benefits.

This major R&D effort will accelerate the progress of several public-private sector solar research partnerships, including the Thin Film Partnership and the Crystalline Silicon Initiative. These initiatives seek to reduce costs, increase system efficiency, and improve the manufacturing of solar power.

The SAI's emphasis on achieving cost-competitiveness and broad commercialization of solar energy technologies represents a shift in the Solar Program's approach to advance the role that PV can play in United States energy supplies.

FEMP is partnering with SAI to assist in technical transfer of solar technology and to assist in accelerating the widespread commercialization of clean solar energy technologies. The SAI is interested in partnering with the federal government to expand the marketplace and address market barriers. The SAI is looking for high profile, preferably large, federal projects to collaborate on. Generally they can provide significant technical assistance. This aspect of the program is still developing, so look for more information in the future.

For more information, please see www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/solar_america/index.html or contact Anne Crawley of FEMP at anne.crawley@ee.doe.gov or 202-586-1505.