In an effort to help the nation reclaim its competitive edge in solar manufacturing, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu recently announced a $50 million investment over two years for the SUNPATH program. SUNPATH, which stands for Scaling Up Nascent PV At Home, represents the second solar photovoltaic manufacturing initiative (PVMI) supporting the DOE’s SunShot Initiative.

“This investment provides a necessary boost to domestic solar manufacturing businesses, encouraging them to keep jobs here and establish America’s leadership in the world’s growing clean energy economy,” said Chu. “In addition to invigorating clean energy manufacturing, this program will help achieve the SunShot goal of making unsubsidized utility-scale solar cost-competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.”

As recently as 1995, the U.S. maintained a dominant global solar market share, manufacturing 43% of the world’s PV panels. In steady decline, U.S. market share shrank to 27% by 2000 and to 7% by 2010. SUNPATH’s aim is to help return the U.S. to the forefront, driving innovation and assuring continued leadership in the 21st century clean energy economy.

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