Feds announces $50M in new solar funding

The infamous Nevada Test Site has long been known as a proving ground for nuclear weapons.

But now, Nevada is slated to provide the demonstration site for an altogether more benign form of technology – a.k.a. solar energy.

The Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) will serve as a proving ground for such cutting-edge tech as concentrating solar thermal power and focusing photovoltaic energy.

The above-mentioned projects were announced shortly after US Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu confirmed a new $50 million funding opportunity designed to test innovative technologies with the potential to lower the cost of solar energy, which will also be used for utility applications in the Southwestern United States.

The dedicated Solar Demonstration Zone within the Nevada National Security Site will complement the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management’s 24 Solar Energy Study Areas on public lands by providing data concerning the commercial viability of these technologies. 

The demonstrations slated to take place in Nevada are intended to be large enough to provide useful data for the eventual deployment of such tech at utility-scale (typically, grid-connected projects larger than 20 megawatts). 

More information on this funding opportunity will become available in 2011.

Susan DeFreitas, EarthTechling