Steven Chu, the U.S. Energy Secretary, announced Friday that the Department of Energy will be sponsoring $27 million in research grants as part of its SunShot initiative. According to Chu, this program seeks “to reduce the costs of solar energy and re-establish U.S. global leadership in this growing industry,” as part of President Obama’s goal to double American clean energy resources in the next 25 years. This investment funds nine independent research projects, and according to a recent Boston Globe article, three of these nine projects will take place in Massachusetts-based companies.
1366 Technologies of Lexington, Veeco Solar Equipment of Lowell, and Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates Inc. of Gloucester received a total of $12.6 million from the SunShot initiative, nearly half of the total research monies awarded. The Obama administration has put a renewed focus on energy research recently, with the goal of developing reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy for America’s future. The SunShot program is only one step in this complex transition from fossil fuel dependence to renewable energy, but it is hardly the first attempt at mainstreaming solar power. In various forms, the U.S. government has offered subsidies and incentives for those willing to adopt solar technology, but without these subsidies it remains an expensive source of energy when compared to available alternatives. The goal of this SunShot initiative is to refine affordable, efficient manufacturing techniques as well as to optimize the solar technologies available. With a little luck, this investment will propel inexpensive, clean solar energy into the mainstream free of subsidies, and it all starts in Massachusetts.
For more information, check out the full press release from the Department of Energy.
Written by: Walter Palmer