SunShot Slings Solar Cash At US PV Sector

Lessons learned in the 1980s are being applied to the US solar manufacturing sector as part of a USD$112 million funding boost for the industry.
   
The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) "SunShot Advanced Manufacturing Partnerships" will provide the stimulus over five years to support the development of advanced solar photovoltaic (PV)-related manufacturing processes throughout the country. 
   
Based on a successful 1980s called SEMATECH (Semiconductor Manufacturing TECHnology), which solved common manufacturing problems in the failing domestic semiconductor industry by investing in research and development and streamlining resources, the SunShot program will once again use SEMATECH to improve the capabilities of engineers and suppliers of solar energy technology. 
   
The Department of Energy hopes the Advanced Manufacturing Partnerships model will provide bring America’s solar energy manufacturing sector up to a competitive standard of technical expertise with the rest of the world. 
   
The program will bring together multiple companies and PV organisations, linking universities and national labs with PV cell, materials and equipment suppliers to help speed the rate of innovation. 
   
“Expanding the U.S. solar energy industry is an important part of the Administration’s goals to diversify our electricity supply and rebuild America’s manufacturing base to create jobs now and in the future,” said Secretary Chu. 
   
The SunShot initiative is part of the Obama administration’s ambitious goal of making solar energy cost competitive on a large scale with fossil fuels by reducing the cost of solar energy systems by around 75 percent. This would bring down the price of solar energy to approximately $1 per watt, or 6 cents per kilowatt hour – a price which would allow solar to rolled out across the nation without government subsidies and be cheaper than coal fired power generation in many scenarios.
   
In his State of the Union address earlier this year, President Barack Obama also pledged to eliminate oil subsidies; stating " I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s."