Initiatives will try to spur on clean energy

-A A +A
By The Staff

On Monday, President Barack Obama announced more than $1 billion in Department of Energy initiatives to drive innovation and accelerate the clean energy economy.
As part of the President’s Clean Power Plan, DOE’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) is making up to $1 billion in loan guarantees available to support commercial-scale distributed energy projects, such as rooftop solar with storage and smart grid technology.
In addition, through the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), DOE is awarding $24 million in funding for 11 high-performance solar power projects that the government believes can serve lower the cost and improve the performance of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems.
According to the DOE, “these initiatives will spur innovation, ensure grid reliability and help ensure America’s low-carbon energy future.”
“The announcements made today will help spur innovative clean energy technologies that will be central to the president’s Clean Power Plan and combat climate change,” DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement announcing the initiatives. “The Clean Power Plan is a tremendous opportunity for American businesses to be global leaders in solar and distributed energy technologies. This will help shepherd in a new era of clean energy jobs and a low-carbon economy that will deliver affordable and reliable power to America’s homes and businesses.”
Distributed energy technologies, such as rooftop solar, energy storage, smart grid technology and methane capture for oil and gas wells, will be looked to in order to solve key energy challenges, as well reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The DOE, however, said these distributed technologies may be limited by market barriers, particularly until it has a solid history of credit performance and commercial operation. DOE officials hope LPO’s initiatives will help overcome possible market barriers and accelerate deployment of innovative distributed energy technologies.
As for ARPA-E’s Micro-scale Optimized Solar-cell Arrays with Integrated Concentration (MOSAIC) program, the goal is to help create highly efficient photovoltaic (PV) panels that capture more sunlight using less area.
The DOE said many roofs are not well suited for conventional solar panels due to their size or location. However, the DOE is hoping to spur the use of Concentrated Solar Power (CPV) optical devices that concentrate sunlight onto a smaller, high efficiency solar PV receiver. The DOE said CPV devices “can reduce the footprint of conventional solar panels, while maintaining their ability to generate electricity.”
According to the DOE, MOSAIC has selected projects in seven states — the closest to New Mexico is in neighboring Texas — to developed solar modules that integrate high-performance micro-scale concentrated PV technologies into “flat plate” solar panels.
, which the DOE is hoping will improve the efficiency and cost of solar technologies.