U.S. solar power becoming competitive, Moniz says

Feb. 14, 2014 at 7:03 AM   |   0 comments

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SACRAMENTO, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said the country's solar power industry is getting close to becoming a cost-competitive part of a low-carbon economy.

"In just the last few years, the U.S. has seen remarkable increases in clean and renewable energy, doubling the amount of energy that we produce from solar and wind and supporting a strong, competitive solar supply chain," Moniz said in a statement Thursday.

Moniz said the Energy Department released $25 million in new funding to help support the domestic manufacturing of solar photovoltaic components to keep the sector moving in the right direction.

The investment is part of the so-called SunShot initiative, a program meant to spur U.S. innovations to reduce the cost of solar energy.

The Energy Department 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 SunShot initiative envisions utility-scale prices for solar power at 6 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Moniz attended the Thursday opening of the Ivanpah solar power plant in California, the largest solar facility of its kind in the world.

It's a "shining example of how America is becoming a world leader in solar energy," he said.

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