Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced a funding opportunity of up to $105.5 million for innovation in solar technology. The Energy Department (DOE) will fund about 70 projects aimed at advancing solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies and technologies that concentrate solar thermal power.

The funds, issued through the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), are also meant to facilitate integration of those technologies into the power grid and prepare the solar industry’s workforce for the future.

“American ingenuity is the engine of our energy economy,” Perry said in a release. “Investing in all of our abundant energy sources, including solar technologies, will help to drive down costs and ensure that the nation leads the world in energy production and innovation.”

DOE says these research projects will address the earliest stages of technology development, enable significant improvements to the current fleet of solar technologies, and maintain U.S. leadership in solar energy.

The funding opportunity will combine all of SETO’s technology areas into one request, DOE says, reducing overhead costs and speeding up its cycles of learning in solar research.

“Prioritizing research and workforce development for the hundreds of thousands of Americans that solar employs is vital,” Abigail Ross Hopper, the president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). "We look forward to fulfilling this opportunity with innovative solar projects that drive America's energy economy to a cleaner, more affordable and reliable future."

Within each of the technology areas, DOE says it will fund projects that develop and test new ways to accelerate the integration of emerging technologies into the solar industry value chain and expand private sector engagement supporting energy innovation, especially those related to financing and commercialization.