The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Washington, D.C., recently announced plans to invest $5.2 million in funding to support the development of low-cost Concentrating Solar Power (CSP). CSP systems use the heat generated by concentrating and absorbing the sun's energy to produce thermal energy. This type of solar energy can be used immediately for generating power through a steam turbine or heat engine, or it can be saved as thermal energy for later use. Because storage of solar energy in this manner removes the intermittency of sunlight, making it dispatchable, CSP systems can provide energy to homes day or night.

In addition, the DOE will make available a Technology Commercialization Development Fund (TCDF) of up to $7.2 million to three of its National Laboratories to support commercialization of clean energy technologies. TCDF will provide pre-venture capital funding for prototype development, demonstration projects, market research, and other deployment activities.

The 12 CSP projects selected for negotiation of awards (totaling up to $5.2 million) are integral to the Solar America Initiative, which aims to make solar energy cost competitive with conventional forms of electricity by 2015. Specifically, CSP project goals include reducing the cost of solar power to be regularly available at less than 10 cents/kWh by 2015.

CSP projects selected for negotiation of awards:

3M St. Paul, Minn.
Alcoa Alcoa Center, Pa.
Brayton Energy Hampton, N.H.
Hamilton Sundstrand Canoga Park, Calif.
Infinia Kennewick, Wash.
PPG Industries Pittsburgh, Pa.
Skyfuel New York
Solar Millennium Berkley, Calif.
Solucar Lakewood, Colo.
National Renewable Energy Lab Golden, Colo.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Sandia National Laboratories Albuquerque, N.M.