WASHINGTON, April 18 (UPI) -- The U.S. government said it was solidifying the country's position as a renewable energy leader by offering $15 million for community solar plans. As part of the so-called SunShot initiative, the Energy Department said it made $15 million available to help U.S. communities develop solar-energy plans to use at homes and area businesses. The Energy Department said the average price for solar photovoltaic power was 11 cents per kilowatt-hour at the end of 2013, comparable to conventional power.
With costs declining, the Energy Department said states and local communities are starting to deploy more solar energy project to meet their electricity needs. As of last year, 13 gigawatts of solar power projects have been linked to the U.S. electrical grid.
"The Energy Department is committed to further driving down the cost of solar energy and supporting innovative community-based programs -- creating more jobs, reducing carbon pollution and boosting economic growth," Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement Thursday.
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.