WASHINGTON, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Energy Department announced plans to invest $60 million during the next three years to advance concentrating solar power technology.
"Our nation is in a global race to produce cost-competitive renewable energy that can create manufacturing jobs, cut our reliance on fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions," U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement.
The investment is part of the so-called SunShot Initiative, a program by the U.S. government that aims to spur American innovations to reduce the cost of solar energy.
The Energy Department said the funding could go to nearly two dozen projects in the private sector, universities and national laboratories working on concentrating solar power technology. CSP uses mirrors to concentrate the sun's energy to produce heat, which could be used to generate electricity.
The Energy Department said the United States had a dominant position in the solar energy sector in 1995, manufacturing 43 percent of the world's solar panels. That market share slipped to 7 percent last year, however.
"The funding announced today through the SunShot initiative will help unleash the vast potential of solar energy to diversify our energy portfolio, create clean energy jobs and re-establish U.S. global leadership in this fast growing industry," Chu said.