As recently as 1995, the United States maintained a dominant global solar market share, manufacturing 43 percent of the world’s PV panels. In steady decline, U.S. market share shrank to 27 percent by 2000 and to 7 percent by 2010. SUNPATH stands for Scaling Up Nascent PV At Home and represents the second solar Photovoltaic Manufacturing Initiative (PVMI) supported by the Department of Energy. The goal of the SUNPATH program is to ensure U.S. leadership in the 21st century solar energy economy.
The Department of Energy announced a $50 million investment over two years for the SUNPATH program. Currently the Department of Energy 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.
PVMI Part I: Advanced Manufacturing Partnerships has resulted in the selection of $110 million in projects to three industry and academic consortia to enable substantial cost reductions in PV module production.
PVMI Part II: SUNPATH seeks to increase domestic manufacturing through investments that have sustainable, competitive cost and performance advantages. SUNPATH 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.
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