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Solar America Initiative

Energy Minute: The U.S. Department of Energy announced $168 million in funding to accelerate solar energy technology development. This brief podcast explains what the research will accomplish and how it will happen. (podcast)

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Music by Chris Keister

What is the SAI?

President Bush first announced the Advanced Energy Initiative in his 2006 State of the Union Address. The Solar America Initiative is part of that. The goal is to make solar energy cost-competitive with conventional sources, without subsidies, by 2015.

What will participants research?

The program's funding will be spread across a range of technologies, from utility-grade concentrating solar, to packaged residential units.

How will the $168 million be spent?

The DOE emphasizes that the amount is up to $168 million, which isn't a lot to begin with. California has committed $3.2 billion for solar power installation rebates alone.

The actual funding appropriated by Congress will be spread over three years.

Who gets the money?

The DOE will select 13 projects, involving 50 companies, plus universities, nonprofits, and national labs. Participants will form teams to pursue the projects, each focusing on a different technology.