DOE Investing $50 Million to Advance Domestic Solar Manufacturing Market

August 3, 2011

DOE announced on August 2 its $50 million investment over two years for the SUNPATH program. The program is designed to help the United States reclaim its competitive edge in solar energy manufacturing. SUNPATH, which stands for Scaling Up Nascent PV AT Home, is the second Photovoltaic Manufacturing Initiative supporting DOE's SunShot Initiative.

SUNPATH seeks to increase domestic manufacturing through investments that have sustainable, competitive cost and performance advantages. It will help companies with pilot-scale commercial production scale up their manufacturing capabilities, enabling them to overcome a funding gap that often curtails domestic business at a critical stage. By bridging this gap, SUNPATH will help ensure that innovative, low-cost solar technologies are manufactured in the United States.

The United States maintained a dominant share of the global solar market in 1995, manufacturing 43% of the world's PV panels. It has declined steadily to just 7% by 2010. DOE is seeking applicants with industrial-scale demonstrations of PV modules, cells, or substrates that offer lower-cost solutions in line with the SunShot goal. Applications are due by October 28, 2011. See the DOE press release, the application requirements at the Funding Opportunity Exchange, and the DOE SunShot Initiative.