The House of Representatives voted 310 to 106 to approve, H.R. 3585, the "Solar Technology Roadmap Act" - a bill that creates an updatable strategic roadmap to advance solar technologies through prioritized research, development, and demonstration activities.
H.R. 3585 establishes a comprehensive process to create this roadmap for solar technology R&D activities conducted by the federal government in partnership with the private sector, with a focus on the Department of Energy.
The bill authorizes $350 million for DOE to carry out these activities in FY2011, rising to $550 million in FY2015. The bill requires the Secretary of Energy to appoint a Solar Technology Roadmap Committee, which includes industry representation, to create a Solar Technology Roadmap within 18 months of enactment of the Act.
The roadmap will present the best current estimate of the near-term (up to 2 years), mid-term (up to 7 years), and long-term (up to 15 years) R&D needs in solar technology.
The Secretary of Energy is directed to award grants to carry out these programs on a merit-reviewed basis, and specifically to provide awards to industry-led consortia for RD&D in solar manufacturing.
The roadmap is modeled on the successful National (now International) Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, which has been instrumental in helping semiconductor technology advance rapidly over the past two decades.
The bill also authorizes DOE to conduct at least 13 solar demonstration projects of various sizes, and it requires DOE to study the performance of existing photovoltaic installations and identify opportunities to improve the energy productivity of these systems. In addition, DOE must establish a program of RD&D related to the reuse, recycling, and safe disposal of photovoltaic devices.