California solar projects get federal backing

March 11, 2014 at 8:44 AM

WASHINGTON, March 11 (UPI) -- Three energy projects in California received $2.2 million as part of a federal program to lower the costs of solar power, the U.S. Energy Department said.

Solar Nexus Inc., Genability, and CelLink Corp. will share the funding as part of the SunShot program.

The SunShot initiative envisions utility-scale prices for solar power at 6 cents per kilowatt-hour. The Energy Department last month said the average price for solar photovoltaic power was 11 cents per kilowatt-hour at the end of 2013. For the entire sector, the average price is 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The Energy Department said Monday more than 75 solar power companies have generated about $18 in private-sector banking for every $1 of federal support since the program began in 2007.

In December, the Energy Department said 930 megawatts of solar power was added to the U.S. grid during the second quarter of 2013, up 20 percent from the previous quarter. Combined, installed solar capacity in the United States provides 10 gigawatts of energy.

Critics of President Obama's "all-of-the-above" energy strategy point to the bankruptcy of federally backed solar companies as a reason for concern.

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