World Energy Center Heeds Call for Renewable Energy

The Southern California-based World Energy Center is reporting that it has heeded and exceeded President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s call for the use of renewable electricity. The administration has called, as part of its “new energy plan” for America, to develop and use 25 percent renewable electricity by 2025. This will spur clean energy jobs, says the Obama administration as well as reduce greenhouse gases and other sources that lead to climate change.

img_energy-center-mapThe World Energy Center is comprised of more than 30 companies, cities, colleges, participants’ partners and affiliates. Larry Hales with Hales Global Group has been providing consultant business development services and says the World Energy Center is the nation’s leading clean energy nerve center in North America. The Center collaborates with multiple companies to develop the most technological advanced renewable energy projects with the goal of spurring clean energy innovation and creating a commercialization Hub to reduce the cost of clean energy and accelerated its worldwide deployment.

World Energy Center aims to create more new jobs and further economic growth says President and COO, Michael Reich, “With billions being spent on new construction projects, long-term manufacturing, engineering, maintenance and management jobs, ancillary growth and service jobs, manpower will be needed for us to succeed. We need to create green job training facilities, educational programs and a number of diversified renewable energy projects will be brought online.”

The World Energy Center and its collaborative group of partners expect to build out more than 5,000 Megawatts of solar, geothermal, wind, natural gas and other clean energy projects over the next 15 years. Reich said the Center will position the United States as a leader in low cost renewable energy, create tens of thousands of green jobs and educate the next generation of young Americans keeping pace with President Obama’s goal and Energy Secretary Dr. Moniz’s mandate.

Ian Campbell, senior lobbyist with Manchester Associates noted that World Energy Center is extremely efficient at Photovoltaic, PV, converting sunlight into electricity. “We are building on the development of applicable PV affordable solar renewable clean energy which was born in 1979, and today with support from private and public partners, the price of PV systems has fallen in half; however, maintaining such a viable U.S. clean technology industry will require policy makers to advance energy subsidies that will lead to improvements in technology and lower prices.”

Gevo Applauds UL Biobutanol Decision

gevo logoGevo, Inc. has applauded Underwriter Laboratories (UL) decision to approve the generic use of up to 16 percent isobutanol (biobutanol) in UL 871A pumps manufactured by any company that meets ASTM specifications. If a retail gasoline station currently has these pumps, then no changes need to be made to offer consumers isobutanol.

Gevo has been working with UL for several years to approve the use of isobutanol in UL 87A pumps. UL in working with various companies and independent laboratories compiled data for their scientific determination on isobutanol. Gevo sponsored a large study based on SAE J1681 and using a model created in a previous UL investigation with ethanol-surrogate gasoline fuel blends.

“I am very pleased with what we have accomplished with UL. They are great organization to work with in the commercialization of isobutanol,” said Glenn Johnston, Executive Vice President for Regulatory Affairs at Gevo. “This removes another hurdle in the commercialization of renewable isobutanol in on-road gasoline.”

2013 Brought Global Growth to Geothermal

This year marks strong global growth for the geothermal industry and is positioned to see greater growth by 2020. In 2013, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) identified 70 countries moving forward with nearly 700 geothermal power projects. In 2007, the number was only 46 countries developing or considering geothermal projects. In addition, more U.S. companies are pursuing projects in other countries.

“We are seeing new technology developments move forward and new projects being announced in every region of the world,” said Karl Gawell, Executive Director, Geothermal Energy Association. “Despite slow growth in the United States, the global market continues to gain steam. So, many American geothermal companies are using their industry know-how in friendlier economic and political climates overseas.”

geothermal energy Photo Jennifer BoyerThis year, the industry surpassed 12,000 MW of geothermal power operational, with about 600 MW of new geothermal power coming online globally. New geothermal power came online in Kenya, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Turkey, and Mexico, as well as Oregon, Nevada and Utah in the United States. New announcements in the U.S., Ethiopia, Kenya, the Caribbean and others have increased the developing resource of geothermal power to about 30,000 MW.

The international geothermal power industry is poised to place between 500 and 1,000 MW on line per year for the rest of the decade. This year new geothermal geologic studies or exploration moved forward in places as diverse as American Samoa, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Taiwan, Thailand, Uganda, the United States, and Yemen.

Financing was also strong during 2013 with projects announced in Costa Rica, Dominica, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Tanzania, and the United States, while projects in drilling and start-of-construction phases made headway in Chile, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Montserrat, The Philippines, Rwanda, and Zambia.

Technological advancements were made this year in Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) with successful EGS projects in the U.S. completed by Calpine Corp., Ormat Technologies and AltaRock Energy. Around the world, Australia put its first EGS pilot plant, a 1-MW trial, on line at Habanero, and in Europe, there were EGS advancements in Hungary, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

At the beginning of 2013, geothermal tax credits were adjusted to qualify projects at the construction stage. Only in the last month of the year have there been signs of change in Washington D.C., with a bipartisan, bicameral budget deal in the Congress and a new clean energy tax proposal by Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus (D-MT).

“The budget deal could open the door to finishing appropriations bills, which could reinvigorate the DOE research program,” Gawell said. “And the Baucus tax paper breathes new life into efforts to establish long-term incentives for geothermal and other clean power technologies.”

IL State Rep Moffit: Ethanol is Still Exciting

Illinois State Representative Donald Moffitt knows agriculture. He grew up on a family farm, on which his son still farms (and Don occasionally helps). This has been a huge asset for him in his role because agriculture is the number one industry in both the 74th District as well as the state of Illinois.

Rep Moffitt was serving in this role seven years ago when Patriot Renewable Fuels broke ground on their ethanol plant (and in November they broke ground on a biodiesel plant) and I asked him what IL State Rep Donald Moffittthe feelings were like about ethanol during that time. He said there was a lot of excitement and there still is a lot of excitement.

“But finally, we’d been hearing about ethanol. We knew as farmers and producers we wanted to encourage the use of ethanol,” said Rep. Moffitt. “We were trying to get acceptance of ethanol years ago and finally one comes to our area with the construction of Patriot Renewable Fuels. So it was genuine excitement.”

The excitement went way beyond agriculture, explained Moffitt. First there were the construction jobs to build the plant and that brought a lot of jobs and economic activity to the area. Once the plant was running, there are the permanent jobs and then he noted there is the benefit to the community such as value added benefits to corn, for example. Producers are now able to get a higher price for their corn. The economic activity of Patriot brings more people to the restaurants, to the gas stations and other local businesses.

“So it’s a win-win for our state, for our community, for agriculture and we need to have this type of diversity,” said Rep. Moffitt.

He noted that biofuels help our entire nation by creating a more diversified fuel supply, and they reduce our dependence on foreign oil. “And I’m old enough to remember oil embargoes that occurred in the past, and long lines at gas stations when OPEC embargoed shipments to the U.S.,” said Rep. Moffitt. “It put us in a real bind. With a domestic supply that is also a renewable supply it helps relieve that problem; it helps prevent it from happening. We’d be better off, safer as a nation, if our fuel was all domestic IL Rep Moffit groundbreakingand renewable. So ethanol and biodiesel help make that happen. It’s a trend in the right direction.”

Moffitt continued, “The production of biofuels is actually a national security issue. Because we don’t want to be dependent on foreign countries for our energy supply. Not all of them are friendly to the United States. But the American farmer is always going to be our friend.”

“For the distractors from biofuels, if they want to depend on foreign oil for energy supplies they can do that,” said Rep. Moffitt. “They’re wrong and its not a safe concept to have. We must have as much of our energy, and I hope all of our energy eventually, produced right here.”

Listen to my interview with IL State Rep Donald Moffitt here: IL State Rep Moffitt: Ethanol is Still Exciting

Check out the Patriot Renewable Fuels photo album.

ACCIONA Turbines Selected for Wind Farm

ACCIONA has signed a contract to supply 34 turbines for a 102 MW wind farm in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. The company will carry out the construction, internal electrical infrastructures and assembly, and will also undertake the operation and maintenance of the facility.

The South Canoe wind farm, which will be the largest in Nova Scotia, has been developed by three local companies: Oxford Frozen Foods, Minas Basin Pulp and Power and the utility company Nova Scotia Power, to which the power generated will be sold. It will use ACCIONA Windpower AW3000/116 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 3 MW, hub height of 92m, and a rotor diameter of 116 metres.

ACCIONA_parque-eolico-canada-pThe facility will supply electricity equivalent to the consumption of 32,000 homes and will help the province of Nova Scotia reach its renewable energy targets.

“ACCIONA was able to deliver what the South Canoe Project team asked for: a complete solution including highly-reliable and high-capacity turbines, construction services and operations and maintenance,” said Ilya Hartmann, CEO of ACCIONA Energy North America. “We’re pleased to apply our full range of wind energy services to provide the best value for this project.”

ACCIONA Windpower North America CEO Enrique Teruel says the company “is proud to be part of the South Canoe Wind Project and to continue expanding the track record of our AW3000 turbine in North America.”

To date, orders for the AW3000 turbines amount to 1,491 MW and the wind turbines are destined for wind farms in nine different countries. Nearly half this figure corresponds to wind farms in North America, and 78 percent of the total capacity will be supplied to customers outside the ACCIONA Group.

UL Approves Biobutanol Use for Storage & Dispensing

Butamax Advanced Biofuels, LLC, has announced that a joint research program with UL (Underwriters Laboratories) has determined that gasoline fuel storage and dispensing equipment meeting latest UL standards can safely and successfully use blends of up to 16 percent biobutabutamaxnol. This is the first time that UL has made such a determination.

Butamax’s Fuel Product Manager, James Baustian, said, “UL represents the gold standard for product safety, testing, and certification. This guidance clears the way for State Agencies to consider and approve dispensing of isobutanol gasoline fuel blends. This is a major milestone for the commercial distribution of biobutanol. Butamax will immediately begin to work with State and Federal authorities to complete final approvals for dispensing of gasoline containing isobutanol.”

State regulations require fuel dispensing equipment to be listed by independent product safety testing laboratories such as UL. Butamax says at the time current UL dispensing equipment test standards were finalized, biobutanol was not commercially available and was not tested. This announcement by UL means that if butanol had been available as a fuel, says Butamax, it would have been included for service use in equipment meeting latest UL standards.

Butamax CEO Paul Beckwith added, “UL has conducted a comprehensive assessment of isobutanol compatibility jointly with Butamax and we have found them to be an excellent technology partner. This milestone is a reflection of UL’s commitment to promotion of new product safety, together with Butamax’s fuel market expertise.”

Methane Digesters Providing Reliable Electricity

Murphy-Brown, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, has announced that its two methane digesters are producing renewable energy. The methane-to-electricity project kicked off in 2012 between Circle 4 Farms located in Milford, Utah (Murphy-Brown’s livestock production subsidiary) and Alpental Energy Partners when the two companies entered into a partnership to convert hog manure to electricity.

Today, the energy produced is connected to the electricity grid and is providing electricity for residential and commercial customers in Utah.

Smithfield logo“Murphy-Brown is excited to be the engine driving this latest form of renewable energy that will allow citizens to turn on the lights in their Utah homes, while at the same time protecting the environment from greenhouse gases such as methane,” said Jim Webb, director of environmental and public affairs for Circle 4 Farms.

“On a personal level, our Milford project is very gratifying for all of us at Smithfield Foods, Murphy-Brown and Circle 4 Farms. Anyone who has observed our actions during the past decade is familiar with our commitment to sustainability. We are committed to reducing our impact on the land, water and air resources that we use in our operations,” Webb added.

Webb explained that the two methane digesters installed at Milford convert some of Circle 4′s hog manure to energy, providing enough electricity to power about 3,000 homes and businesses. The manure-to-energy project has had a significant positive impact on Circle 4′s lagoons because the solid waste that is typically stored in the lagoons, is reduced.

Brady Olson, vice president of Alpental Energy Partners said of the project, “It’s a pleasure to be part of this special project. We are thrilled about our partnership with Smithfield Foods, Murphy-Brown and Circle 4 Farms, and we are looking forward to getting this project fully ramped up and to provide another source of electricity for the citizens of Utah.”

Put Solar On It

Solar company Mosaic is kicking off 2014 with a New Years Resolution campaign to “Put Solar On It.” People around the world can pledge online at PutSolarOnIt.com to put solar on a local home, school, place of worship, business, or other property. Then throughout 2014, Mosaic will provide people with the tools and network they need to make their pledge a reality.

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 9.53.09 AMAcademy Award nominee, Mark Ruffalo has signed on to lead the campaign. Ruffalo has pledged to put solar on his childrens’ school, Stephen Gaynor Elementary, in Manhattan. Make It Right, a nonprofit organization that is helping families in New Orleans affected by Hurricane Katrina rebuild, has pledged to put solar on a home for a family living in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward. Other pledges have come in from individuals across the nation, including from Atlanta, GA. Boston, MA, Charlotte, NC, Maui, HI, Pittsburgh, PA, Santa Fe, NM, and Woodbury, MN.

“I’m helping put solar on my kids’ school to save the school money and free up resources that will be aimed at their education instead of fossil fuels,” said Mark Ruffalo. “We can also demonstrate the shining future that is now within our grasp. I love that Mosaic is making it possible for all people to participate in an economy meant for all — the solar economy. We are powerful.”

The “Put Solar On It” resolution is part of significant national momentum. In 2013, a solar installation was installed every four minutes throughout the U.S. and the price of a solar dropped to 60 percent of 2011 prices, according to the U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association and Greentech Media Research. The nation installed more clean energy than coal, oil, and nuclear combined, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. According to the Solar Foundation and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the solar industry is creating jobs at four times the rate of the economy at large. Continue reading

EU Guidelines Undermine Renewable Energy

The European Commission proposes putting an end to differentiated support for renewable technologies such as onshore and offshore wind in its consultation of draft State aid guidelines for energy and the environment published this week according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). This would effectively stop Member States from determining their own energy mix – a fundamental principle of EU energy policy says EWEA.

AREVA OFFSHORE MASTS“These guidelines, if adopted in their present form, endanger Member States’ ability to meet their 2020 renewable energy targets cost effectively,” said Pierre Tardieu from the EWEA. “Moreover, following the destabilising regulatory changes for renewable energy in many countries, requiring further fundamental changes to support mechanisms would cause major investor uncertainty.” The organization has drafted its own brief related to the EU’s proposed guidelines.

EWEA is calling for Member States and stakeholders to speak out to ensure the guidelines do not put at risk their path to the 2020 targets when they take part in the consultation on the proposal that has been launched. The guidelines are expected to enter into force on 1 July 2014.

Separately, the European Commission has announced investigations into the German renewable energy support mechanism, the EEG, and the UK’s measures offering generous support to nuclear energy.

“The EEG investigation risks undermining the wind industry in Germany by destabilising investors, and putting at risk the jobs, energy security and industrial leadership brought by wind and other renewables,” said Tardieu. “The Commission needs to carry out this investigation as rapidly and with as little disruption as possible.”

“The UK nuclear investigation is welcome, since the proposed 35-year subsidy would wreck efforts for a single European electricity market until after the year 2058 – over 100 years after the first commercial nuclear power plant was installed at Sellafield/Windscale in the UK,” Tardieu concluded.

Vivent Solar Sends Kids to Science Camp

Vivint Solar is sending kids to science camp. The solar company announced that it has matched the maximum fundraising efforts of $15,000 of the Windsor, California community to enable every sixth grader the opportunity to attend a three-day science camp in February.

VIVINT SOLAR WINDSOR MIDDLE SCHOOL CHECKDue to budget cutbacks, the students were at risk of not being able to attend camp this next year. The Alliance Redwoods science camp, in Occidental, Calif., costs about $165 per student, and the community had only raised about half of the funds needed before Vivint Solar stepped in to pay the difference.

“We are proud to invest in the outdoor environmental education that science camp provides to young students,” said Greg Butterfield, CEO of Vivint Solar. “The long-term value of giving to the Windsor Middle School community during the holiday season is priceless to our team.”

The company found out about the shortfall from first-grade teacher Kelli Wong, a teacher at Healdsburg Elementary and Vivint Solar customer.

“I know that Vivint Solar is concerned about the environment, with their focus on the sun as a powerful and renewable resource,” said Wong, a parent of a sixth grader at Windsor Middle School. “I, and the entire community, was so excited when Vivint Solar responded so quickly to our need and invested in the science camp experience. The sixth-graders are beyond ecstatic about being able to go to camp together for a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity that is in line with the school’s emphasis on environmental stewardship.”

In addition to funding, Vivint Solar representatives will visit the camp when the students arrive to hand out t-shirts, water bottles and other necessities to ensure the campers are ready to learn and have fun.

Marshall County Wind Farm Begins Construction

Laurel MorningMarshall Wind Energy LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RPM Access LLC, has begun construction of its 74 MW wind farm in Marshall County near Beattie, Kansas. The company executed a high voltage transmission interconnection agreement with Westar Energy and Southwest Power Pool in mid-2011. Under the terms of this arrangement, the two companies are coordinating their efforts to pursue all design, engineering and construction activities related to the Westar 115kV Marshall County Wind Farm Switching Station and the Marshall Energy Rock Substation. Energization is scheduled for August 2014 with wind farm commercial operations expected by year end 2014.

A contract has also been signed with Mortenson Construction to provide balance-of-plant design and construction management activities. Marshall Wind has established a local business office in Beattie. An on-site construction management office and equipment have been mobilized to support construction of access roads to wind turbine locations along with substation site grading and foundation work activities that are now underway.

Renewable energy generated by the project will be purchased by multiple entities via long-term contracts. In September, Marshall Wind signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for 20 MW with the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC). The project will qualify for current renewable production tax credits (PTCs). Located within the Southwest Power Pool market region, Marshall Wind in 2014 is ideally positioned to offer for sale under long-term contract(s) the remaining available capacity.

The project is anticipated to create more than 150 jobs during the construction phase and approximately four permanent positions. The wind farm will also benefit the community by strengthening the local economy and providing a steady flow of revenue to Marshall County.

Hydro-PV Hybrid Project in China Connects to Grid

What is believed to be the world’s largest hydro and PV hybrid project has been connected to the grid and is now supplying power from the Longyangxia Dam in Qinghai Province, China. Yingli Green Energy Holding Company, who supplied 15 MW YGE series photovoltaic (PV) modules for the project congratulated the project team for its successful efforts.

Longyangxia DamWith a total capacity of 320 MW, the project began construction in March 2013 and started grid connection and commissioning last week. During its 25 years lifetime, the hyrdo-solar project is expected to deliver 498 million kWh of electricity per year to the grid.

“We feel delighted about the successful grid connection of world’s largest hydro and PV hybrid project,” said Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy. “In addition to this hydro and PV hybrid project, the company has also been acting proactively in integrating PV with architecture, agricultural, and other fields. For example, the Power Valley International Hotel – world’s first five star hotel with BIPV application applied our curtain wall Series PV modules, integrating solar power generation into the overall design and making the building more environmental friendly.”

Miao added, “The Company also focuses on the innovative applications of PV modules with traditional agriculture, promoting the development of eco-agriculture. Besides, we installed more than 20 MW PV modules on our factories, parking lots, and other facilities, which will provide approximate 23 million kWh solar electricity per year for the company’s production and operation. This will help the company to reduce CO2 emission and increase renewable energy consumption.”

U.S. Solar Energy Industry Breaks Records

Solar Report Figure1.1_0GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) have released the “U.S. Solar Market Insight: 3rd Quarter 2013,” the definitive analysis of solar power markets in the U.S., with strategic state-specific data for 28 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

According to the report, the U.S. installed 930 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaics (PV) in Q3 2013 is up 20 percent over Q2 2013 and 35 percent over Q3 2012. This represents the second largest quarter in the history of the U.S. solar market and the largest quarter ever for residential PV installations. The report finds that even more importantly, 2013 is likely to be the first time in more than 15 years that the U.S. installs more solar capacity than world leader Germany, according to GTM Research forecasts.

“Without a doubt, 2013 will go down as a record-shattering year for the U.S. solar industry,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO. “We’ve now joined Germany, China and Japan as worldwide leaders when it comes to the installation of new solar capacity. This unprecedented growth is helping to create thousands of American jobs, save money for U.S. consumers, and reduce pollution nationwide. When it comes to preparing for America’s future, clean, dependable and affordable solar energy has become the ‘Little Engine That Could,’ defying expectations and powering economic growth – and, frankly, we’re just scratching the surface of our industry’s enormous potential.”

Solar Report Figure2.1_4The report finds that the residential market continues its rapid growth. Through Q3, residential PV installations were up 45 percent year-over-year, driven largely by increasingly attractive economics and by fair net metering policies. The non-residential (commercial) market has seen the most difficulty this year with installations forecasted to stay flat over last year. The utility market continues its consistently strong installation numbers and is forecasted to exceed 1 gigawatt (GW) of installations in the fourth quarter, including Abengoa’s Solana, the world’s largest parabolic trough concentrating solar power (CSP) plant with a 6-hour thermal energy storage system. This will be the first time any individual market segment has hit that mark.

“Solar is the second-largest source of new electricity capacity in the U.S. this year, trailing only natural gas,” said Shayle Kann, vice president of research at GTM. “As solar continues its march toward ubiquity, the market will require continued innovation, efficiency improvement and regulatory clarity. But already the groundwork has been laid for a mainstream solar future.”

Grupo T-Solar Powers Up Plant in Cali

Spain-based Grupo T-Solar has successfully completed its first photovoltaic solar plant in El Centro, California. The solar plant, located in the municipality of Centro (Imperial Valley, California), occupies 140 acres of land and will produce 55 GWh per year, equal to an energy consumption of more than 12,000 inhabitants. The sale of energy is regulated by a 30-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the company IID (Imperial Irrigation District).

“USA is one of the target markets for the growth of Grupo T-Solar and a key part of our long term business strategy”, said Marta Martinez, CEO of Grupo T-Solar.

Grupo T-Solar Centro Cali project The project in El Centro has an investment of over U.S. $75 million (more than 55 million euros) and has been financed and supported by several international financial institutions including North American Development Bank, as senior lender; Santander Bank NA, a subsidiary of Banco Santander, as Tax Equity Investor; Astris Finance, a financial advisory firm specializing in energy and infrastructure structured finance in the Americas, acted as financial advisor; and CCA Group, a FINRA-registered broker-dealer specializing in renewable energy, acted as advisor for the tax equity component.

“We are very grateful and proud to cooperate with the City of El Centro in a joint effort to preserve and enhance environmental conditions and quality of life for people living in Imperial County”, said Marta Martínez.

The new solar plant is located in an area considered as priority by U.S. and Mexican Governments in its effort to preserve and improve the environmental conditions and the quality of life of the people who live on the border between the two countries.

According to the company strategy in the U.S. market, Grupo T-Solar has just been awarded a MATOC (Multiple Award Task Order Contracts) by the Department of Defense. The program has a budget of $7 Billion with the goal of installing 3,000 MW of renewable energy in the facilities of the U.S. Army until 2025.

DOE Invests $13M in Solar

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced over $13 million for five projects that they say will strengthen domestic solar manufacturing and speed commercialization of photovoltaic and concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies. The awards were given under the SunShot Initiative, a program aimed at creating a competitive solar industry in the U.S.

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 11.25.56 AM“The strong, continued growth in the U.S. solar industry over the past few years is giving more and more Americans access to affordable clean energy,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “We have a tremendous opportunity for American manufacturing to lead the global clean energy market and help pave the way to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.”

According to a new U.S. solar industry report, the U.S. solar market continues to grow – reaching record-breaking levels. In Q3 2013, the United States installed 930 megawatts of photovoltaic, up 20 percent over Q2 2013 and representing the second largest quarter in solar installations in U.S. history. Cumulatively, solar capacity has already surpassed 10 gigawatts and by the end of the year more than 400,000 solar projects will be operating across the country.

Matched by over $14 million in private cost share, the DOE’s investment will help companies in California, Colorado, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Oregon develop cost-effective manufacturing processes for photovoltaic and CSP technologies. For example, Colorado-based Abengoa Solar will develop new methods to produce concentrating solar power trough systems, helping to lower overall production costs and support easy and quick on-site assembly. PPG Industries, headquartered in Pennsylvania, will lead a project to cut solar module manufacturing costs in half, while Georgia-based Suniva will develop a low-cost highly efficient silicon photovoltaic cell.

Broadly, the DOE investment announced today will help drive affordable, efficient solar power in the United States and help industry partners meet the SunShot Initiative’s goal to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade. These awards also support the Department’s broader Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative to increase the efficiency of the U.S. manufacturing sector and ensure that clean energy technologies continue to be made in America.