"We can accept defeat and watch the solar jobs go to China, Germany and other countries, or we can get in the game and play to win, creating jobs in Colorado and across the country," he said in a statement from a GE solar manufacturing plant in Colorado.
Chu last week testified before the U.S. House of Representatives on solar power company Solyndra. The company declared bankruptcy after landing a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government.
Critics of the Solyndra loan complain the White House is too reckless with taxpayer money and some of the aspects of the guarantee might be illegal.
Chu told an audience at the Colorado facility that this is a critical time for U.S. energy security.
"The global competition is fierce and support for new and innovative technologies comes with inherent risk," he said. "But that is no reason to sit on the sidelines and concede leadership in our sweet spot, technological and manufacturing innovation."