The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) intends to invest up to $17.6 million for six early stage solar photovoltaic (PV) module incubator projects. Department officials said the projects will focus on the initial manufacturing of advanced solar PV technologies. Including the cost share from industry, which will be at least 20%, the DOE said the total research investment is expected to reach $35.4 million.

"These projects support President Bush's Solar America Initiative, which aims to make solar energy cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity by 2015," the department said in a statement. "Increasing the use of alternative and clean energy technologies such as solar energy is critical to diversifying the nation's energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on foreign oil."

The 18-month project awards went to 1366 Technologies, Lexington, Mass.; Innovalight, Sunnyvale, Calif.; Skyline Solar, Mountain View, Calif.; Solasta, Newton, Mass.; Solexel, Milpitas, Calif.; and Spire Semiconductor, Hudson, N.H.